Based on my friends’ horror experiences at differing universities, my expectations for Macleay College weren’t overly profound. Fast forward one year, and I have gained experience at Nova969, worked alongside Roxy Jacenko at Sweaty Betty PR and scored several by-lines at 9News.
I took a huge risk relocating from my small town of 600-people in Western NSW to pursue studies in Journalism and based on these results, it is clear to me why the student success rate at Macleay is increasingly high.
Early units such as Foundations of News and News Research equipped me with the tools to produce a professional piece of writing, and the college’s news site ‘Hatch’ provided me the platform to publish them.
To further that, more specific electives such as Investigative Journalism and Podcasting allowed me to explore my interests and gain a more concrete understanding of the areas of journalism I want to work in upon graduating.
Blake working on a story for Hatch.
Writing for Macleay’s student site Hatch gave me several opportunities to write stories that interested me, as well as being able to attend several media events. Interestingly, it was my first media event for a Balvenie Whiskey launch that got me in contact with the senior figures of nine.com.au.
By chance, I got chatting to a woman also reporting at the event who informed me that she works as a journalist for 9News. Like many, she was impressed by the practical aspects of the journalism degree at Macleay and suggested I come to 9News to gain experience.
After a few months and follow up emails, I found myself in the 9news Sydney getting stories published at media’s most trying time, COVID-19. Each morning, I would pitch a story to the editor, write alongside the senior news team and have stories published in my name hours later.
The feeling of having several articles in my name was second to none, especially on one of the biggest publications in Australia. Whether I was frantically calling contacts to try and secure talent or running through the city to speak to get Vox pops, every inkling of stress instantly became worth it.
Thankfully, it was the prior experiences I gained at Nova969 and Sweaty Betty PR that conditioned me to the demands of working in media and communications.
It was the Radio Journalism unit that connected me with the talented Michelle Stephenson. Michelle taught me the A-Zs of news writing and I was able to be in a fast-paced newsroom for parts of the Australian Bushfires and other significant events. Elevator chats with Kate Richie and Tim Blackwell were just a bonus.
Through my own personal networking, I landed myself in Roxy Jacenko’s Paddington Head Quarters where I learnt the fundamentals of PR and the importance of relationship building. I worked across several of her companies such as Sweaty Betty PR, Ministry of Talent and Social Union in which my skillset became flexible and adaptable to any setting I would work in. This is an experience I still fondly look back on.
Blake and Roxy at the Sweaty Betty PR Christmas Party.
It was from these life-changing experiences that I was able to build a portfolio that fuelled me with the confidence to approach trailblazers within the media and communications industry, securing me work at companies I grew up reading, watching, listening to and admiring.
Now, I am in an amazing position in which I am able to earn a sufficient amount of money through freelance positions in the journalism field. Also, the experience and skill set I have developed since studying at Macleay College has secured me a few upcoming job trials as well as given me the tools to produce an upcoming podcast I am currently working on.
To work alongside famous figures in the media and communications industry has been a dream come true, but subconsciously developing the skills to work in paid positions whilst studying is just a bonus.
While I am lucky enough to be faced with several options in the crazy world of Journalism upon graduating, I am nothing but thankful for Macleay for assisting me to get where I am today and am blessed to have a portfolio to present future employees that most students aren’t lucky enough to have.