Two USC Journalism students who recently secured full-time reporting jobs in a challenging media landscape say the secret to their success was embracing every opportunity to gain real-life skills through their degree.
Final-year Bachelor of Journalism student Liam Bland from Hervey Bay has started as a sports reporter at Seven Wide Bay, replacing recent USC graduate Connor Rose, who has taken up a more senior role at Seven’s Central Queensland news bureau.
Maddie Manwaring from Caloundra has joined the Gympie Times as a cadet journalist, alongside USC graduate Josh Preston, who has been working at the regional daily since completing his degree in 2018.
Journalism program coordinator Dr Jane Stephens said the success of USC students in landing jobs in the competitive journalism industry highlighted the benefits of the degree’s focus on building a portfolio of work and first-hand experience through internships and work experience.
“Each student really grew through their coursework and took advantage of some great work-integrated learning opportunities that USC’s Journalism academics helped them secure – and it paid off,” Dr Stephens said.
Liam said his eagerness to put his name out there, along with showing a keen interest in local sport, set him apart and helped him gain a winning edge in scoring his dream role as a sports reporter.
“During my time at USC, I have constantly looked for ways to have more of my work published and I have jumped at every available opportunity to gain extra experience,” the former Fraser Coast Anglican College School captain said.
Maddie said the opportunity to complete several internships and projects with media organisations such as the ABC, Sunshine Coast Daily and global business publication Forbes Magazine allowed her to build a diverse portfolio of work and create an impressive resume.
“The highlight was definitely completing an internship at Forbes Magazine in Jakarta, where I was able to put my skills to practice in a newsroom, learn from experts in the journalism industry, discover Indonesian culture and study a new language,” she said.
Entering the fast-paced environment of local news as young university students could have been daunting, however Maddie and Liam said they felt well-prepared from the knowledge and experience gained during their studies.
“At work I am always drawing on what I’ve learned in uni, especially using the writing, interviewing, photography and social media techniques we were taught to produce engaging stories,” Maddie said.
Liam said the support and guidance of his lecturers and tutors over the course of the degree had given him the confidence to write engagingly in a variety of styles, and across different mediums.
While both students have a few subjects to complete before finishing the three-year degree, they said the opportunity to secure jobs in the media industry was too good to pass up.
Dr Stephens said USC would support the students to finish their studies while they gained an early start to their journalism careers.
Maddie Manwaring at the Gympie Times (Photo credit: Shane Zahner)