Talya Jacobson tells us why studying Journalism at Macleay was the best decision she ever made.
I can say in all honesty that going to Macleay College was the easiest and best decision I’ve made in my life; and I’m a pretty indecisive person. My time at Macleay has seen me make incredibly valuable connections, learn essential skills that will see the difference between good and above-and-beyond journalism, and has opened my eyes to the world of journalism and the media.
I’ve always thrived on creativity, whether it be in art, music, or storytelling. I never really had the dream to become anything specific when I grew up, however I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck in a nine ‘till five office job, and had always dreamed of being my own boss. The one thing I knew for sure was my love for music.
Having been a singer since before I could properly talk, I grew up to love everything about music and my interest for the industry grew as I did. My dreams of being a professional singer very quickly turned into being a music photographer, attending an abundance of concerts and making invaluable connections in the industry that have stuck through to today.
Unite for the night reporting.
Let’s go back to the start of 2019. It was the day after my twenty-first birthday, and I had been talking to a friend who had just graduated high school and was starting at Macleay College that week. I had just finished a Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging which I did online whilst travelling, and had planned to move to the UK that year – admittedly, for a guy (thank goodness I didn’t!). I knew there was something missing from my life; I loved my freelance job as a music photographer, but my love of writing was being neglected and I had to do something about it.
“There’s a Journalism degree at Macleay, you should do it!” my friend who had just started Advertising and Digital Media said. Surely it was too late; the next day was the start of week 2, and I had missed orientation and the first week of classes. Part of me didn’t want to go back to study a third time, however looking into the degree I knew this would be worth it.
Journalism! Why hadn’t I thought of that before!? It would enable me to write and research more into the music industry, continue my passion of photography, and more! Genius. I called in and before I knew it, I was going for my interview the very next day, before being told there was a class on that afternoon which would be my first. I had nothing with me; no laptop, books, nothing! But there I was on a Wednesday afternoon taking my first ever journalism class with Fiona West; someone who I am honoured to have connected with over my time at Macleay. Little did I know this would be the beginning of my own story, despite the years of changing career paths beforehand.
Very quickly I started to make close friends and open my mind to the world of journalism. Knowing I was never going to work as an investigative or news journalist, I still applied myself to the best of my ability and learned as much as I possibly could. As my bachelor degree progressed, I found myself becoming an ambassador for the College, speaking at career expos and open days, and thanks to Fiona, ended up reporting from the 2019 ARIA Awards Red Carpet; an absolute dream opportunity for the start of my music journalism career.
Talya on the red carpet at the 2019 Arias.
My time at Macleay started with buzzing curiosity for every sector of journalism, before taking Kathy Marks’ Feature Writing course and wanting to write features and run my own music magazine. As time went on, I started publishing weekly music reviews on my blog Friday’s Five at 5 before the creation of my current blog The Monthly Groove, and saw myself writing for the likes of Hatch, The Vegan Company and Happy Mag where I completed my internship, getting to interview local artists and write my dream album review of Hayley Williams’ latest album Petals for Armor (you can read it here!).
Now just six months away from finishing what - will be - my final university degree, I feel nothing but excitement. Okay, and maybe a little fear as well; it’s a big world out there! However, every single class I have completed at Macleay has taught me lessons that are not only critical for my career as a journalist, but also for life in general. Even classes like Data Journalism which I had no interest in taught me vital skills which I still use to this day and certainly will in the future.
Talya meeting Vera Blue at the Aria Awards.
I am currently undertaking the music journalism elective with walking music encyclopaedia and legend Bernard Zuel, someone who I feel extremely lucky to call my mentor. My time from now until I graduate from Macleay will see the start of my next endeavour; an indie music talk show specifically for emerging artists called The Indie Groove. This is something that Macleay’s Media and News Entrepreneurship class has specifically helped me with, along with Cisco Corea’s incredible video content production skills.
I simply wouldn’t be who I am today if not for Macleay. I wouldn’t be pursuing my career in Journalism considering I didn’t want to go back to a traditionally structured university, and I wouldn’t have the repertoire or opportunities I’ve been blessed to have had in the past two years. At the end of the year I will be proud to call myself a Macleay College alumnus and am looking forward to meeting every journalism and media student that comes out of Macleay College.