MEAA Perth Media Students Day

Firstly, I admire Curtin students… The Bentley campus is a maze and the only reason I knew where to head for the MEAA Perth Media Students Day was because the flyer read ‘next to Aroma Cafe’ and I love food, so of course, I knew where to go. Walking into the Bankwest Lecture Theatre, the screen was lit up with a welcome message and four chairs were placed at the front of the room facing the audience. Time ticked away and as it reached 9 o’clock four journalists made their way into the front chairs. I must admit, I got a little starstruck because I knew who some of these journalists were, well, I at least knew their names from television and bi lines! Courtney Bembridge from the ABC, Claire Bickers from The Sunday Times, Jordan Cutts from Channel 7 and Liam Croy from The West Australian were all sitting right in front of me! Okay, giddy me hid away and my listening ears switched on.

To start off the morning, Tiffany Venning, the Regional Director of MEAA for WA explained who MEAA was and then introduced the first panel of speakers. Courtney Bembridge then began talking… She told us how she did work experience at the ABC while at uni and she “sunk her claws in”. Seven years later, she’s still there. Courtney even admitted to ‘stalking’ a journalist back when she was a student – she ended up scoring work experience through this (ps. We do not condone inappropriate stalking!). Claire Bickers journey was a bit different. She explained how she started in the Home section of The West Australian and although she didn’t really want to be doing that, any journalist job was a great opportunity and look where its gotten her today! Jordan Cutts then went on to explain his journey and how he got to be a reporter for Channel 7. He has literally done every journalism job I could possibly think of. Once he graduated from Curtin he was lucky enough to get into WAAPA doing the post grad broadcasting degree. He started in the Home section of The West Australian then moved to the Real Estate section. He’s done a rural stint in Kalgoorlie and many other print journalism jobs before landing the gig of a lifetime at Channel 7. After hearing Jordan’s career path from graduating to now, I felt so relieved. Maybe I will get a job! Liam Croy was the last to speak about his journey and his was very similar to that of Claire. Although he admits at the beginning of his career, he was a horrible writer! Hearing this, I felt even more relieved.

Five points from the Young Journalists Panel:
1. Fake it till you make it.
2. Most of the time you wont know what you’re doing .
3. Never email someone for work experience or a job – always visit or call!!
4. Call everyone for work experience – call, call and call again!
5. Never be cocky – always take criticism on board.

Next up, the employers panel. Pamela Magill from Network Ten, Greg Roberts from AAP, Simon White from WAToday and Matt Zis from Community Newspaper Group all assembled in the four chairs. These are the people you want to impress! Hearing their stories was very interesting because they have been in the industry for a lot longer than the young journalists. Pamela Magill’s story was the most interesting… She graduated with a degree in Organic Chemistry (what the!!!). After graduating, she travelled to Berlin and after witnessing negative events happening there it made her want to have a voice and thats how she got into journalism! The employers panel admitted they had no clue where journalism was heading in the future and that print journalism is definitely on the decline (which is the down side to the internet).

Five points from the Employers Panel:

1. Show you always want to improve.
2. Take any job you’re offered, even if its not the field you’re interested in.
3. Understand your audience – in whatever job you may be doing.
4. Make sure you can find a story and don’t be afraid to pitch it!
5. In your resume make sure you mention you can multiskill – film, interview, write, edit ect.

Lastly, Andrew Burrell from The Australian spoke to us about his long career (spanning over 15 years). He has worked in Indonesia, Shanghai, Melbourne, Sydney, Albany and Perth. He started out at the Financial Review and this took him to many different countries. He spoke about his reporting of the Bali bombings and catastrophic earthquakes and how he took these stories and wrote them in a way that would suit his audience of the Financial Review. Everyone laughed when Andrew so casually mentioned “oh yeah and I’ve been sued multiple times… the last time was a few months ago.” He said it as if it was an everyday thing! He also told us how he got arrested in Laos while he was looking at the bridge known as the Friendship Bridge which ironically was built by Australians and ended up in lock up for five hours. Andrews career got everyone excited because come on, who wouldn’t love to travel with work!

So as I’m sitting here writing this post, as well as my Journalism assignment (I’m great at multitasking – another skill to add to the resume) I’m reciting in my head; fake it till you make it, fake it till you make it, fake it to you make it! Thats whats going to get me through! If you’re going to be a Journalism student in 2017, 2018 and so on, I highly recommend attending the MEAA Perth Media Student Day! It makes you feel so much better about what you’re studying and makes you so much more prepared for when someone says ‘so what are you going to do with that degree?’

By Erin Caizley meaa

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