Sonia – interning at the Hawthorn Football Club

Name: Sonia Constandelos
Course: Master of Communications and Media Studies
Internship: Digital Media at The Hawthorn Football Club

During her Master’s course Sonia has become increasingly interested in social media and interactive communications, and has even written about ‘football fandom’, so when the opportunity for the internship came up at the Hawthorn Football Club, she jumped at it.

Why did you decide to do an internship with the Hawthorn Footy Club?

Well I’m definitely a huge footy fan – although not a Hawthorn fan, and I like to know what’s going on in that field, so when I saw the opportunity, I just couldn’t not apply!

What is your role as a digital media intern like, what do you do day to day?

I’m working alongside the Digital Media Manager in that department (one of several departments in the club).
I’m heavily involved in the website, I help post articles about the history of the club, or about the match that’s about to happen, and we use a ‘cycler’ to boost the articles we think the fans will want to read on any day.

I have to find relevant photos and I might repost videos from a couple of months ago to keep the engagement up. One of the major goals of the website is to keep the fans, or the consumers, of the website on there for as long as possible. I’m also analysing engagement on twitter and facebook, click rates and those sorts of very specific things.

It must be great to see the inner workings of a successful club like Hawthorn?

Definitely, considering my own interests in AFL, I like seeing how the coaches and players interact with each other, it helps that they’re a successful club, so they’re quite happy!

Their administration is also successful, I’m learning how all of those factors help to make a really great AFL club, it’s not just training, or even winning, it’s a number of factors coming together, including our digital department.

What has been most rewarding for you?

The chance to communicate online with such a huge supporter base has been a big advantage for me. I’m working in a Victorian club that is massive, the Hawthorn Football club has got the second biggest membership, and it’s on it’s way to being the biggest!

What was the most challenging thing you experienced in your internship?

I’ve received really good guidance from my supervisors, but I find the technical aspect of working there a challenge sometimes, learning how to use the systems, just building my skills.
Also I only work two days, in the middle of the week, so sometimes I feels like I miss out on the life of the club from Thursday to Tuesday, particularly the game days.

How are you finding the internship relates to your study?

In terms of applying what I’ve already learned from the theoretical to the practical it has been really good, because I’ve already done a lot of writing research into social media, having to develop my own questions, so this all relates to that.

I even written about football fandom during my course, so it’s all been very relevant to what I’m doing now.

Has this internship helped you decide what you’d like to do after finishing your degree?

Yes, I think it’s narrowed it in a good way. Previously I hadn’t had much of an idea, but now I know I really like to understand how people engage with social media, it’s purpose and how it can be applied more broadly.

I do really think I can sustain a career in this field, maintaining digital communication with others, and a big group of people too. I’ve learnt how it’s possible to achieve this.