My Top Office Do’s and Don’ts

During the first five days of my placement, here are my top ‘do’s and don’ts’ for any intern or employee!
Do’s: Respect others space. At the beginning of my internship, I felt very much like an invader, despite the immediate welcome by my supervisors. I knew that the organisation has an influx of interns each year, and that this must be a distraction to permanent staff. So I wanted to ensure I respected the space of senior journalists and staff around me. As I was skipping from one desk to another daily, I ensured that I kept my space clean and tidy at the end of the day, and treated the journalist whose desk I was borrowing with respect!

Introduce without being irritating. Despite already recognizing most journalists around me, I used my discretion to introduce myself to them. If I noticed some were busy or making phone calls, I didn’t bother them.  By deciphering body language I managed to introduce myself to several journalists who were happy to assist during my internship, and formed some strong relationships.
Showing up ‘on time’ is late. As the company was a distance from my home, I ensured that I factored in travel time each morning. Training in journalism, I am very aware that it is crucial to be punctual, particularly as interviews are scheduled to a tight deadline. However in every work position I’ve held, I have always been punctual and believe this is important. My parents raised me with the saying that ‘5 minutes early is 10 minutes late’.
Dress appropriately. Not just dressing conservatively, but also correctly for the conditions. As my internship was in June during -5 degrees days, I made sure that what I was wearing was also practical. Particularly having comfortable shoes, as there was a lot of running around
Listen to advice from others.  It is okay to think that your way is the best way, but taking time to take other people’s advice on board can provide a new perspective that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
Gossip.  This is a common human tendency but can be very destructive and harmful in a work situation.  It is better to maintain your colleagues respect and trust by avoiding any petty gossip and concentrating on work!
React negatively to criticism. I certainly do not enjoy making mistakes but if I don’t embrace them, I miss out on a valuable learning opportunity.  Instead of thinking ‘I failed’, I now ask myself ‘how can I prevent this from occurring again?’


Seminar 1: Involvement and Reflection.

Career Services discussion referring to applying for a job.

1.     “Knowing about the organisation before walking in.”

Having already commenced one week of my internship, this point seemed particularly significant, as I believe it provided me with an advantage in my interactions with work colleagues and a heightened understanding of my surroundings. Subscribing to the organisation’s newspaper since my first year of university provided me with some knowledge of the role of primary journalists and editors. However, being thorough and updating this information, including familiarising myself with the website sections, saved precious navigation time. As soon as I began my internship I could recognise the majority of journalists before they introduced themselves to me. This awareness helped me build up a relationship with them by understanding their specialised roles (e.g. sports/arts/general/business/other).

I undertook extra preparation by reading the latest business news about the company, and how it was fairing in the wider media industry. I was introduced to the overall economic environment by one of my supervisors in my OH&S course on day two. My previous research allowed me to ask informed questions relating to possible job cuts and company restructures. Being aware of the external environment enabled me to focus on the internal operational structure of which I was less familiar.

2. “Understanding which qualities you have that match the company’s expectations.”

This was something I did not consciously consider before commencing my internship, but I discovered along the way. As I am still learning my strengths and weaknesses in journalism, I began to understand the values both my employer and I shared. For instance I value creativity and freedom to produce my own ideas and storylines, and fortunately my employer only encouraged me to do this.

Personal Expectations

* Being able to observe how journalists work with editors and photographers behind the scenes. While I have no expectations of the type of work I will be assigned, my key desire is to gain an insight into the daily operations of a newsroom. For example I understand the company still does traditional newsroom meetings every morning and afternoon. I am looking forward to experiencing the nature of these meetings and how the editing staff resolves problems that arise.

* Advice on how to apply for a job in the competitive media industry after university. I would feel satisfied walking out of my internship feeling confident that I know how to improve my chances of obtaining work. For example what to include in a portfolio, potential interview questions, and skills my employer believes I could improve upon between finishing my last semester and applying for jobs.


* Not being able to keep up with the pace of a busy newsroom. Generally I expect shorter deadlines during my internship than those I have been given at university.

Long-term career aspirations

I aspire to work as a general news reporter in print journalism. My ideal job would be starting out by working in a rural area with a strong sense of community, where I could be responsible for covering a variety of issues. However I would also be happy to find work in related fields such as public relations.

Applying Academic Knowledge

Majoring in Public Relations, I understand the close connection between PR and journalism. One of my columns has involved finding key newsworthy information from press releases. As I have learnt to decipher press releases and communicate with PR professionals at university, I was able to do this efficiently.

Ethical Issues

* Translating quotes. I have been careful to make sure that when using quotes, I am not placing them out of context.

* Getting facts right. I made an error with one of my stories in regards to water storage capacity levels. One of the statistics on the website I examined was not inclusive of a particular NSW dam in the total, which skewed my reported results. I was alerted by one of my interviewees, and was able to source the correct information and place a correction, thereby rectifying my mistake quite rapidly. I was disappointed in myself for making such a simple mistake, but it was an invaluable lesson in data collection.

Professional issues:

* Building relationships: Knowing key points of media contact for certain stories. Also learning how to send photographers briefings, so they can take the best possible image to match my story angle.

* Phone and email etiquette: As a lot of my time is spent seeking interviews, I have learnt how to respond to phone and email messages both succinctly and politely. I’ve learnt that it is important to be firm and assertive when interviewing people, so they don’t try to promote their own product or service, a problem I have already frequently encountered.

Creating My E-Portfolio: Maintaining a Professional Image Online

As a part of my internship unit at the University of Canberra, this E-Portfolio is considered a necessary component to prepare for the workforce. I decided to do some research on what makes a good E-Portfolio so I was aware of what to include, and what could potentially jeopardise me from being employed. With so many social media platforms I am very cautious of my online footprint. I think it is important to strive for a professional online identity so that it reflects both myself and future employers in a positive light.


vintage-social-networking-685x548Here are some tips I researched that I thought were useful from a blog on Emerging Ed Tech. I will aim to incorporate these ideas into the creation of my E-Portfolio:

  • Think hard about the organization, appearance and general layout of your ePortfolio. Create separate sections for topics such as education, experience, references and contact information.
  • Be sure all relevant documents are uploaded to their corresponding sections of the ePortfolio. You want to make the process as easy as possible for the person viewing them—of course, easy doesn’t have to mean boring.
  • Avoid bright colors and stick to the more traditional business formatting and fonts (may not be valid for those interested in design schools, etc. Use your judgment).
  • Try using WordPress. Take advantage of the themes this platform offers by connecting one with your personality and professional aspirations. For example, don’t use a free-flowing artsy theme if you’re going into corporate business law, and vice-versa.
  • Use meaningful pictures to bring some life to your ePortfolio. While the majority of people will have content-based ePortfolios (excluding professions like photographers, artists, etc.), it’s important to remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure they are well-cropped, in good taste and are connected to the most important points you’re trying to get across.
  • Write good content and keep it up-to-date. Spell check and grammar check and have a friend do the same.
  • Connect your ePortfolio with social media sites so people can find you more easily. Of course, you’ll want to make sure everything on your profiles are work-appropriate.

Source: Hartman, E., 2013, Emerging Ed Tech, ‘Are ePortfolios Still Relevant for Today’s Students?’, viewed 07 June 2013.