If there was one lesson to be learnt at Faustina A’Golley’s Media Talks it was this:
If you study and work hard, you can do it!
It sounds a little like a chocolate bar slogan, but it’s generally great advice. Why get down in the dumps about the competitive nature of the Media Industry? Work hard for what you believe in and it could happen.
It wasn’t all beer and skittles for media gurus Faustina O’Golley, Sarah Wilson, Auskar Surbakti, Megan Miller and Darren Rowse but working hard for their passion worked to there advantage.
But let’s start at the start. Plenty more great advice coming right up!
There were about hundred of us selected by the special Media Talks, aspiring journos, writers, media stars sitting in the trendy warehouse that is Rokeby Studios in Collingwood. The atmosphere was encouraging, surprisingly the usual competitive streak of high achievers was no-where to be seen. Why weren’t the future journos pouncing one another in a Hunger Games styled kill-off ? Didn’t they know about the Fairfax job crisis?
The night kicked off with free delicious macaroons and a selection of sweets. Although Sarah Wilson was not there in person via Skype she told us about her somewhat ‘accidental’ career in media.
She studied law/politics and all kinds of ridiculous things before doing work experience at Sunday magazine. This led to a position as a restaurant reviewer and a cadetship at The Herald Sun, she was 25 and nowhere near a ‘spring-chicken.’ Sarah moved to Sydney where she was interviewed by Cosmopolitan for an associate editor position, she had never read the magazine. Somehow she became the editor but eventually left due to an illness. Sarah became the host of Master Chef after filling in for Kerri Anne Kennedy, same producer left to work on the other show and remembered her. Sarah now works as a blogger and freelancer, she prefers working for herself. She believes she got noticed because she did was passionate about and worked and studied hard.
Faustina’s career started from a love of TV, mostly Video Hits and geography docos. She often wagged school to watch Oprah and day-time TV but a trip to Africa changed her study ethic. Faustina studied as Melb Uni (Communications) and RMIT (Media). It was a meeting with Katrina Roundtree who told her that work experience was the key. Faustina worked at Maccas and Hudson’s Coffee while also doing uni and work experience work. Her work for Channel V built up her show reel.
Auskar Surbakti realised he wanted to be a journalist in year 12. He got into the very competitive RMIT Journalism degree where he was one of the hard-core studiers, he didn’t go out drinking and worked very hard. He was told to apply for everything under the sun but only applied for a cadetship at SBS, out of the 600 people who went for it only 3 got in. Auskar was one of those 3. Auskar’s advice was simple: ‘The more you put in, the more likely you will be employed later on.’ And ‘don’t say you want something if you’re not prepared to do the hard yards.’
Auskar’s work ethic has led him to become work as a news presenter on SBS. As SBS had exclusive coverage to the Pope’s Youth Week visit in Sydney Auskar flew in the pope’s plane from Rome to Sydney. He now works for the ABC as a news presenter.
Megan Miller is a Herald Sun features writer. She was born in Perth and studied journalism at Curt University after a cadetship at the Perth newspaper Megan was able to write 120 words a minute by hand. She was asked to fill in the social pages when someone was sick and loved it. Megan moved to Melbourne and met someone who worked at Mx at a party, this led to her becoming the fashion and entertainment reporter for three years at Mx. She had no fashion experience and had only been to a few parties, but she just had to do it. Megan then started working at the Herald Sun for the Confidential (celebrity) column). After 2 and a half years she became the features writer for the Herald Sun.
Darren Rowse aka Problogger– Australia’s number one blogger! He studied Marketing at RMIT while doing freelance photography on the side. It took Darren four years before he found his passions, which were public speaking, community work (he was a youth worker, minister of a church). After being sent a link to a blog by a guy in Prague in 2002 Darren was hooked. He loved the medium of being able to communicate online and create a community. It started as a personal blog and a hobby but it eventually became a full-time job, his blog about blogging and also one about how to use digital camera, he employs 14 people and 20 others on a freelance basis.
The audience were encouraged to ask the panel questions. Here’s some of the most thought-provoking ones.
Q: Did uni prepare you for the real world?
Faustina: Yes, it helped me write to argue the point well and also develop researching skills. Combined with work experience uni is useful.
Q: How can people earn money from reporting the news when so much is free on the internet?
Megan: Good writing will always be needed. You get what you pay for.
Darren: There is more opportunity online, the bombardment of info means people will pay for the good stuff. Small publishers who can target a niche and specialised market are at an advantage and can charge for their services.
Q: As a new internet blog user what are three tips on how to market oneself?
Darren: Don’t forget the old technology. Find out who you want to reach and join in with their conversation.
Q: Do employers have a preferences of place for a uni degree?
Askar: RMIT Journalism was the most important but now the work you’ve done is more important than place.
Q: How do you deal with writing/reporting news when you have a conflicting opinion?
Megan: Be objective. A good chief of staff will know if you can’t do the story.
Askar: I’ve never had to comprise my moral values in my job. What’s a career if you’re compromising your morals?
I told you there would be lots more inspirational quotes. How bout Askar, he’s one wise cookie hey! I don’t know what I want to do yet when uni finishes. I mean, who does know? It’s a scary world out there, but I know for sure that I will keep working hard and doing what I love. Thanks Faustina for the invite to the awesome night! And now I must go rest my weary head. I am still recovering from meeting and talking to so many brilliant and talented people.