I have always enjoyed writing. Stories, poems, even essays at school. But getting the facts out there, stories about people’s lives, is perhaps one of the most enjoyable things of all.
In a journalism subject in 2015, I went to the home a family who’s livelihoods were threatened by the expansion of a huge mine next door. Hearing their side of the story, as opposed to the sanitised view provided by the mining company, really pulled at me to make sure that both sides to stories get heard.
An abandoned property, with an expanding coal mine in the background
My dream job is working for ABC Rural or Fairfax in rural Queensland or Australia as a journalist.
I have some strengths in this area. I have lived on a cattle property most of my life, and as a result I have a bit of experience understanding how certain sections of the agricultural industry work. I have an understanding of the people and the massive variations in how people do their work. I also understand that rural journalists offer a very important lifeline to rural and remote people in Australia, telling important stories which otherwise wouldn’t be told. When an issue or a challenge comes up, rural people are a different breed. While many will feel strongly one way or another, it is sometimes very difficult for these people to voice their concerns together. I am highly adaptable to technology, I don’t believe there are any computer programs which can’t be figured out with a little bit of effort.
I am a weak in plenty of areas. There is a lot about agriculture and rural Australia that I do not understand, as my life experience has been only within the cattle industry. Even in this industry, there is massive variation in how people work, and it would be foolish to suggest that because I know how a couple of properties work, I know them all.
There are other opportunities for work experience in this area. Publications such as the Queensland Country Life often offer work experience, and perhaps with some luck I could land some work experience there. There are also other rural online publications which I could follow and get a better idea of how to write as a journalist. I also hope to gain some experience in a more corporate sense, which I hope would give me both writing experience and working in the world of business. I also can broaden my knowledge of rural Australia by getting involved in different industries, such as cropping, or sheep. This is important for me to get a better idea of how agriculture in Australia fits together.
The are a couple of potential threats to my dream career. There is the combination of a shrinking journalism industry and the huge amount of competition for graduate roles in journalism and PR. The ABC is also a significant contributor to rural journalism in Australia, so funding cuts to the public broadcaster is hugely threatening to jobs in rural journalism.