Young journalists writing their futures

By Sarah Petty, MPC intern

With large cuts to newsrooms across Australia and fee increases for arts and humanities degrees on the horizon, young journalists might feel their prospects in the industry are limited.

Humanities course fees will rise as part of the federal government’s push to increase enrolments in other fields, but will "have really negative effects for our future newsrooms," according to Herald Sun Education Editor Ashley Argoon.

Coupled with decades of newsroom cuts, Argoon says there "are certainly fewer traditional opportunities for young journos."

But despite these pressures, there is still hope for up-and-coming journalists.

"I think there are still opportunities there that didn’t exist when I started my job in 2011," Argoon said.

Going digital

While newsroom job cuts have made entering the industry harder, they have made way for new developments in delivery.

Digital publication and broadcasting has led to new opportunities and titles, highlighted recently by News Corp’s announcement of more than 50 new online-only community mastheads.

"A lot of newsrooms are strengthening their online presence, and there are [plans for more] digital-only newsrooms," Argoon said.

"There’s an awareness that people want to consume their news on digital platforms, and I think newsrooms are trying to create those opportunities."

Digital platforms have also allowed for more entrepreneurial and experimental journalism from students, creating new pathways into the industry.

Former Radio Monash Vice President Rafal Alumairy, who is currently writing a book on student radio, sees experimentation in new platforms as not only great experience, but also as essential for the future of the media.

"Don’t listen to the adults… just do your own thing. Just because no one has ever done it before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it," Alumairy said.

As well as looking great on a resume, Alumairy said innovation in student media has "clear and obvious benefits" for the industry.

"We start with student media, youth media, independent media, and experimental media. We do weird shit - sometimes it doesn’t work but a lot of times it does. And then… the commercials pick that up and it becomes the norm."

Breaking in

Sam Cuchhiara, reporter for A Current Affair and 2019 Melbourne Press Club Young Journalist of the Year, understands the most challenging part for a young journalist is breaking into the industry.

Cucchiara believes work experience and internships are crucial, as well as studying a double degree if possible to provide young journalists with an extra edge.

"I think it’s really important to develop those skills and to really set yourself apart," he said.

"At the end of the day, you really need a lot more than just a degree from university."

Cucchiara remains positive about the prospects of young journalists, believing that there will still be lots of positions for young journalists despite industry cuts.

"Society is always going to need the media, now more than ever," he said.

"There’s so much misinformation out there that the role of [journalists] is really critical to help cut through a lot of that information that’s out there."

Image: by Cronkite School on flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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