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Stepping Foot into the Broadcast Journalism Industry
The story about an aspiring radio journalist, her studies, and her future career
By Carina Mirabile
Growing up Melbourne always saw herself working in the media industry. Starting from a young age, like most she had ambitions, dreams and goals. Her goal: to make it big as a news reporter. How was she going to get there? A degree and experience in the industry, of course. Pretty straightforward, right?
Whilst studying her university degree at Curtin University in Perth Western Australia, 23-year-old Melbourne pursued modeling as her side job to get her.
“Working in the modeling industry, I knew it wouldn’t be a long term career for me. News and creative writing has always been a passion of mine,” she said.
Graduating in February 2012, Melissa earned her Bachelor of Arts Mass Communications degree majoring in journalism and public relations. During her three-year degree, Melbourne did as much work experience as she could which helped her land a full-time job as a radio journalist at Perth’s hit radio station Nova 93.7 FM based in Subiaco.
“I got my job at Nova by doing work experience, first of all I sent a voice demo to the news director there. When I got there I worked unpaid three days a week, and eventually I was employed,” said Melbourne.
“I wouldn’t have this opportunity and job today if I hadn’t done work experience over the years during my degree,” said Melbourne.
Melbourne undertook work experience at Channel 7 News producing and editing, worked with several management companies, and was co-host at Curtin University radio station 100.1 FM. She sourced stories, wrote them, and read them every hour for the ‘after work drive home’ segment.
“During my experience at Nova, I was taught how to write traffic bulletins, taught how to write news stories and how to read them.”
“I find it was beneficial to when I actually started working there because I already had the background of knowing how things run in the news room and it was great to meet the people who are already employed.”
Juggling a job, studies and undertaking internships was a jam-packed time in Melbourne’s life, but she believes it’s worth it in the long run. “During that time I think you learn a lot more when you’re out in the work place then what you do when you’re actually sitting in a class room reading from a book,” she says.
“I think it’s more beneficial to get hands on experience when you’re out getting the continuous guidance from someone in the industry,” said Melbourne.
Reporting can be challenging at times, sometimes your story may not always make it to air, or if you have an important interview lined up for a story, that interviewee may drop out last minute.
“It is a challenge and you have deadlines, so you need to prioritize, and have a good sense of time. Which I learnt time management at university,” said Melbourne.
Melbourne’s job allows her to work along side former Australian Rules football player and well-known sports broadcaster, Shaun McManus. “I write sport stories along side Shaun, I cut up audio and edit each story. It keeps me busy and is enjoyable working with a man like him.
“After that I go out and archive it for every other Nova station around Australia, I write four stories for my first bulletin, with a mixture of fun stories, hard stories or entertainment stories. I then write traffic bulletins for every 15 minutes.”
However, Melbourne expresses how it’s rewarding listening to her on the radio doing what she loves.
“People tune into your station and rely on you to have the news there for them on the hour,” she says, “If you don’t have it people wont listen to your station and that’s what it all comes down too, but it is an forgettable feeling.” she said.
Melbourne’s says her advice for those wanting to undertake a degree in the media and communications industry is to start networking with people in the industry at an early stage.
“Keep your foot in the door – and it will get you somewhere in your future career,” she advised.
She would like to challenge her reporting abilities and in the future possibly work in the Television field.