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  • Zoe


In week seven of semester one, all Communications and Media students attended the Communications Café. As a journalism major, I was introduced to Kerry-Anne Walsh, Samantha Rose, Peter Davidson and Sue White.

Kerry-Anne Walsh

Kerry-Anne Walsh is an Australian author and journalist who has spent over thirty years in political communications. Kerry-Anne is the Director of KA Communications and also works as an Advisor at Counsel House.

Speaking with Ms Walsh set the bar high for the remainder of the night. Her extensive journalistic experience was impressive, to say the least, not to mention her work ethic and determination to succeed, especially in a time when women were considered a man’s lesser.

Kerry-Anne voiced the importance of working hard to succeed in a profession such as journalism. Loosely phrasing Walsh, ‘You must be prepared to dedicate all your time to your work to achieve as a journalist. Ask yourself, are you willing to work 16-hour days, seven days a week?’.

The necessity to ‘nail the basics’ was another aspect Walsh highlighted throughout the discussion. ‘The ability to write well and be articulate, whether it’s through verbal or written communication, is important in journalism as you may find yourself with three stories on your desk, all due by the end of the day. You will only finish all three stories by exercising your ability to write and articulate the story at hand’ (Walsh, 2021). These are points that I have held onto throughout the semester and will continue to do so for the remainder of my education and career.

Some of the questions I asked Kerry-Anne included: how did you cope as a woman in a time where men ruled the journalism profession; what were some of the issues you faced? How have you adapted as a journalist in the quickly changing climate of the digital age? In your opinion, what will the media landscape look like in 5 years; is print media likely to survive?

Samantha Rose

Samantha Rose is a newsreader and journalist for Canberra radio stations 104.7 and 106.3 and runs her own blog, which encompasses all things she loves, including fashion, Canberra, food and her dog. Samantha graduated recently from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Communications and Media, majoring in journalism. Throughout her studies, Sam interned with 104.7, and due to her hard work and determination, she was offered a paid position.

The importance of gaining experience and meeting people who are professionals within the industry was the most significant point I gained during the discussion with Samantha. “The best advice I could give to an aspiring journalist is get out there and write articles, find stories. Develop a portfolio for yourself so that when you are applying for jobs, you have some material to support your resume” (Rose,2021).

Questions that arose throughout the conversation with Samantha included: what made you choose journalism as a career? Has social media and user-generated journalism affected radio journalism? In your professional opinion, what do you believe is a more popular platform with the public for breaking and regular news stories, social media or mainstream media?

Peter Davidson

Peter Davidson has come a long way in his career, from volunteering at community radio stations 2SSR and 2RPH in high school to his current position as Program Director for Capital Radio Group. Much like Samantha Rose and Kerry-Anne Walsh, Peter Davidson spoke to students about the importance of gaining experience, making connections and working hard.

The discussion included several of Peter’s stories, interests, travels and career achievements. This led to questions such as: what are the struggles of journalism in the digital age? How have you personally adapted to the change in technologies throughout your career? Due to the fast-growing world of podcasts, do you believe that radio is or could be under threat?

Sue White

Mother, writer and journalist. Sue White has been published in magazines, newspapers and online forums for more than ten years. Currently, Sue is published weekly in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers. She also runs writing training programs and produces podcasts with the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

Sue emphasised the importance of loving what you do. “As a journalist, you will be writing all day, every day. You must work somewhere where what you write about aligns with your passions and morals or else your quality of writing and happiness will be compromised” (White, 2021).

I was interested in how Sue juggled her busy workload as well as motherhood, so I posed the question, “what challenges do you face as a mother and journalist, how did you adapt to your new role and do you have any advice for women aspiring to be both a mother and journalist?” It was following this question that Sue emphasised the significance of time management and organisational skills.

Following the professional panel, I was excited about my future career. I left motivated to work hard and do what I had to do to reach my goals. I expanded my professional knowledge of journalism and media and reflected critically on my current aspirations, skills and morals. Overall, the Communications Café was a great experience and allowed me to ask career-related questions that lingered since my studies began.

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