Dineth Lankaloka has come a long way since his days at Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya High School in Colombo and looks set to add a few more travel miles to his international career journey.
Dineth has long-held journalistic ambitions that were sparked after volunteering with an NGO in Sri Lanka. “I joined the Movement for Community-led Development as a volunteer when I was 15. We travelled all over Sri Lanka delivering education programs to young people in rural areas. I wanted to become a journalist because I want to make sure that these people have a voice.”
After completing high school, Dineth travelled to Melbourne to study at Macleay College and has just secured a paid journalism role - before even completing his Bachelor of Journalism degree.
The 20-year-old student responded to an unusual callout from James Clark, editor of the South West newspaper based in Cunnamulla, Queensland. Clark created a You Tube video to advertise the role, stating that he was looking for people who “Don’t mind a long drive, probably enjoy a bit of hot weather, and have a way with words.”
Dineth volunteered with the Movement for Community-Led Development in Sri Lanka.
Dineth, who had been juggling his studies with part-time work as a furniture removalist and postal delivery worker, jumped at the chance to put skills learned in the classroom to work in the real world. “I thought I would ring him (James Clark) for a chat about the job, rather than email him,” he said. “We ended up having a great conversation as we both love cricket. The first story James gave me was a cricket story, and I hit it out of the bloody park! Since then, I’ve covered stories on the Queen’s Birthday Honours, renewable energy and a school fundraiser.”
Dineth is currently working remotely from Bundoora, Melbourne, but plans to make the 1,400km journey to Cunnamulla once borders re-open. The international student is following in the footsteps of many Australian journalists who hone their skills in regional Australia before taking a role in the big smoke – and he’s well prepared. “Macleay College’s practical program has really paid off for me. I’ve learned how to do everything from podcasting, editing, video production, writing, interviewing and photography. These skills will really come in handy when I’m on the road covering stories from Bulloo Downs to Balonne."
So how does Dineth feel about moving to a place where the summer temperatures can reach 47°C in the shade? “I have never been to outback Australia and I can’t wait to get up there.” he says. “I’ve been told that the water in Cunnamulla comes out of the tap at 70°C and people have to put it in the fridge before they drink it. I have no idea what to expect but I am looking forward to the adventure!”
Good luck in your new role Dineth, we look forward to catching up with you when the borders open for an update on your travels in the great outback.