For Matt Johnson, keeping an open mind in his journalism studies and internships helped him learn more about himself as he entered his career.
Now a social media producer at 7 News Melbourne, Matt is working towards a career combining his loves of long-form journalism, photography, digital and sport.
Here is his profile…
Name: Matt Johnson
Course: Bachelor of Arts
Dept: School of Media, Film and Journalism
Year graduated: 2016
Current position: Social media producer at 7 News Melbourne
How did you manage to land your current job?
Contacts. I heard about my role from one of my closest mentors in the industry just before I graduated and they told me to apply. I never thought social media could be an entry point into news, let alone into the world of television. But I went into the interview and came away realising the role would involve relying on many journalism fundamentals. I was shocked when I got the call, to say the least.
How have your studies at Monash helped you in the industry?
The migration of the industry to the web has been so rapid and is still ongoing. Most of the subjects I studied, regardless of the medium, incorporated online elements that have influenced my practice today – whether that’s in the form of conveying information in 140 characters or researching stories.
If you weren’t working in the journalism industry, what else would you be doing?
If I followed the pipe-dream my 10-year-old self set, I would currently be grinding my way through tennis’ professional circuit. But realistically, probably psychology. My friends say I have a knack for helping them through life’s hardest moments, and I find it easy to discuss emotions, whether they are someone else’s or my own.
Were you a planner or a crammer when it came to studying?
I was an unashamed crammer.
Did you complete internships while at Monash? If so, what was one of the key things you learnt from them?
I completed a number of internships and other opportunities while at university, both in journalism and in other parts of the media. Early in my degree, I was narrow-minded on where I wanted to end up in the industry and I think that affected my experiences in a few opportunities I took up. I then learned to be more flexible and read up on a wider range of topics. In one of my last internships, I found out I loved court reporting.
What’s something that surprised you about the journalism industry?
Honestly, the extent to which the modern media cycle relies upon social media as a source for stories stunned me. Also, how much you can learn about talent with a simple social media search. People are unashamed to post about their day-to-day lives and interactions with newsworthy events.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring journalist?
Try to put yourself in unfamiliar situations while you are studying, whether that be for assignments, internships or other opportunities you may have. I volunteered in communications for a political party during last year’s Federal election and going in with an open mind, I had a ball. We learn the most about our strengths and weaknesses when we are at our most uncomfortable, so take up opportunities and look into topics you never thought you’d pursue.
Who is someone that you admire in the industry?
I’ve always been an avid follower of long-form sports journalism, especially when outlets like Grantland were active and prominent in the industry. One of my favourite publications at the moment is Racquet Magazine, and one of my favourite writers is Louisa Thomas – her writing is thoughtful and poignant, yet written in an accessible manner that makes any of her pieces an instantly engaging read.
What do you hope to achieve in the next 10 years?
I would love to be bringing my loves of long-form journalism, photography and the online world together as a freelancer in the sports media industry.
Dream holiday destination?
Vancouver. I’ve been there once before and the city’s simply breathtaking. The neighbourhoods each have their own unique character, the city feels intimate and homely and the surrounding wilderness is remarkable.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pidapipo ice cream, without question.
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