Callie Morgan

Completing a professional placement has been by far the most rewarding experience I have had whilst studying at Monash University and one I would recommend to all other journalism students.

Like many other students in my course, I had not had any work experience in the journalism industry going into my third year of study and was starting to get very anxious about finding a newsroom that would take me on.

After I was given a list of Victorian media organisations and newspapers, which were willing to accept third year journalism students, I approached Shane Scanlan, editor of Docklands News.

I emailed Shane a cover letter, explaining why I would like to work for him and also provided some examples of my work along with my resume and met with him for an interview.

Fortunately Shane hadn’t yet hired an intern and I started working for Docklands News immediately. I didn’t spend any time settling in or gaining confidence through easy tasks, such as vox pops. Instead, I had to conduct interviews and write three news and feature stories a day during my first week.

While I was thrown in the deep end, I had plenty of support throughout my placement from both my editor and unit coordinator. One of the beauties of the professional placement through Monash is that there was always someone on hand to assist with finding a placement and to offer advice on my work and how to cope with any problems in the workplace.

Although my placement with a small community paper didn’t provide me with many significant contacts in the media industry, it did allow me to cover many issues and work constantly.

Unlike other students completing placements with organisations like The Herald Sun or Channel 10, I rarely found myself sitting at a desk with nothing to do. The great thing about my placement was that I was always outside and on the go. Whether I was heading to an interview or out taking photos, there was always plenty to be done and I found I was learning dozens of new thins about being a journalist each week.

Aside from developing my writing and photography skills and giving me a real insight into the role of a journalist, I gained enormous confidence in interviewing. Previously, conducting interviews had been a daunting experience but now I absolutely love it and look forward to meeting new people and sharing their stories. As soon as my placement with Docklands News was complete I was out searching for other organisations to take me on, so I could further develop my skills. I have had little trouble arranging extra placements with newspapers and magazines around Melbourne, as I now have a great portfolio of work to show from my first professional placement.

While professional placement meant I was working two days a week and going to uni three days, I found that working for a newspaper actually motivated me to work harder throughout the semester. I hadn’t been certain that journalism was for me, which made it hard to want to put time and effort into my studies, however after just a few weeks working as a journalist I knew it was definitely what I would be doing at the end of my degree.

Callie Morgan