For many journalism graduates, the most daunting part of starting their careers is moving for their new job. For Alexandra Nelson, this meant moving countries.
After a start at Fairfax Media in Auckland, Alexandra is helping launch a New Zealand iteration of Australia’s successful TV program The Project.
Here is her profile…
Name: Alexandra Nelson
Course: Masters of Journalism
Dept: School of Media, Film and Journalism
Year graduated: 2015
Current position: Associate Producer on The Project NZ
What was it like breaking into the industry? Was it more ‘who you know’ than ‘what you know’?
I think if you study hard and are passionate about breaking into journalism, you will, but it isn’t easy. Internships are the best way to break into the industry. It’s not more about ‘who you know’, although connections are helpful, it’s not even about ‘what you know’ but more about showing enthusiasm and that you aren’t afraid to work hard!
What is a ‘day in the life’ of your current role?
Definitely starts with a strong coffee! In the morning, there’s a meeting to discuss the rundown of the show. I’ll get assigned a segment and start sourcing vision, make calls, organise crew and go out to interview people, (sometimes write the script too). In the afternoon we have another meeting with the hosts and then I’ll sit in the control room if there’s a prerecorded interview, sit with an editor and cut it all together. Finally, there’s headlines to write and then we watch it play out live.
What was a key lesson you learnt at Monash that translated into your workplace?
You’ll never break stories sitting at your desk. Always get out of the office and talk to people, ask questions and listen. The simplest conversation could lead to something.
If you could go back and do your degree again, is there anything you’d
change? Subject choice? Time management? Internships?
Nope, loved every minute!
What skill (or skills) would you recommend aspiring journos acquire before getting into the industry?
The biggest skill is knowing how to find/look out for stories and when interviewing, listening is key. it can be easy to get preoccupied with your questions.
When you were a child, what was your dream job?
To be an Olympic 800m runner.
What is your dream job now?
I’m lucky to be doing aspects of it now, but ultimately it’s being a TV news reporter.
Who do you look up to most in the industry?
I always admire journalists who started in community news and worked their way up. I’ve got lots of respect for anybody who has and continues to help me along the way too.
Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow alumni?
What’s your coffee order?
Depending on whether i’m in Australia or NZ, it’s either a ‘skinny’ flat white or a ‘trim’ flat white.
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