Tiffany – achieving her dream to be a journalist

Tiffany Korssen completed her Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology at Monash, and then went on to her Masters in Journalism after completing her final semester abroad in Hawaii. In 2015 she completed an internship with the Herald Sun as part of her Masters course, and is now working there as a journalist. We caught up with Tiffany to hear about how she found the internship experience, what an average day might have looked like and how it got her to where she is today.

What was your role as an intern like?

My internship was with the Herald Sun. The Herald Sun is pretty amazing: if you’re keen and show you’re passionate and interested you can pitch stories and they will publish them. You approach the chief of staff, explain your idea and sell that idea to them. I pitched a lot of stories for them and in turn, they got me to go out on jobs – [the internship] is basically the job of a journalist, it’s an amazing experience.

Was there anything in your studies that  prepared you for this sort of work experience?

In the introductory units that you do as part of your Masters, they are great at breaking down the role of a journalist.

“You understand what you’re expected to do, what actually makes a news story.  They [the Journalism school] develop your understanding so that you have that initial confidence going into a newsroom. They do a fantastic job of preparing you for work.”

What was your favourite part of the experience?

Generally it was a really fun experience and I think it was important to go in with an attitude of giving everything a go and trying your best. You can make it a really positive experience that way.

Definitely the privilege of getting to write and having your writing published. You’ve got to remember that with every story you write, even if it feels small, it’s still a massive privilege to be having that stuff published, so it’s pretty thrilling and exciting.

Having my first story published is something I still remember. I remember the story was about a little dog that had been malnourished and had been taken in to Lort Smith Animal Hospital and it was a bit of a miracle because they thought she was on death’s door but she ended up giving birth to a healthy litter of puppies. It was a nice feel-good story and it was great to get that in.

Is there a story that meant a lot to you?

A big one for me was having the privilege to share a personal story: talking about my own dad’s battle with prostate cancer. The story had a huge response from the public, so many people were caring and kind and appreciative that I’d shared my experience. That was a really eye-opening thing for me, that so many people were reading what I wrote and that so many people who had similar experiences were appreciating that we’d had that discussion.

A lot of people get people bogged down in a lot of negative news and while that and holding people accountable is a really important element of journalism, I also believe that another element is inspiring people, making people smile, show the good, often over-looked parts of society.

Would you recommend doing an internship to other students?

My internship gave me my job that I have now! If I hadn’t done the internship I probably wouldn’t be employed in the industry; it was vital. I loved the experience and I was lucky that it worked out the way it did. It’s a good way of getting into the profession.

Any other stand-out experiences in your Masters studies?

I really loved my summer intensive subject, it was the first time that this was run. We got to go to New York and Washington DC, we visited Buzzfeed, Associated Press, Washington Post and other places of interest and saw how their newsrooms operated. That was an amazing experience and I really suggest everyone look into that. (Journalism Futures, New York Field School)

“I’ve been really impressed with my professors. They’ve all been so supportive and hands on. They’ve got industry connections as well and are just so passionate about seeing you do well – I really think without them it wouldn’t have been the same experience. They really helped me achieve my dream to be a journalist and be employed by a newspaper.”