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.

Fears

* 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.

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