Within days of starting as a new part-time student studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Macleay, I was so excited at the prospect of interviewing my broadcasting idol Fox Sports presenter and host of the V8 Supercars Jessica Yates that I sent Fiona an email with my suggestion to see if Jessica would be interested.
Much to my amazement Jessica agreed and there was enough time to find the perfect outfit, book a hair appointment and of course formulate plenty of incredible questions that are going to blow Jess away and we will be BFF’s like the motorsport version of Oprah and Gayle. Totally realistic expectations of course.
I know that I am happiest when I am in front of a camera, talking about motorsport, speaking to drivers in pit lane while dodging mechanics trying to quickly fix engines and having a V8 roar to life in mid-interview.
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This drive (excuse the pun), has made me take what I am learning at Macleay and put it into action straight away I published my first story for the Macleay student newsroom Hatch in my first week, and within 6 weeks of starting my course, I landed my first internship writing for the motorsport website MotorsportM8 as a Formula 1 reporter. I was recommended via Twitter, so when the lecturers tell you to build a Twitter profile, it is very good advice!
Over the semester break (eagerly awaiting my interview with Jess in the second week back), I sent emails to all motorsport media outlets I knew of and volunteered myself as tribute, I told them what I could offer, where I wanted to head and that I was willing to work harder than anyone else to get there. Within two days of sending the emails, I got a response from two companies inviting me for meetings – I couldn’t be happier.
Charlie Bullis interviews her idol and role model Jessica Yates at Macleay College.
Now I’ve set the scene, we can dive into the week that was.
Interviewing Jess was a dream come true, there is no other way to explain it. I worked with lecturer Kathy Marks to formulate insightful questions, I had on a great outfit and two coffees before 9am, I was pumped and terrified. The terrified part of me really showed up when the first thing I said to Jess when she arrived was, “Oh my goodness, you’re real!” What Charlie? What? That’s the best you could do? OK, well, it could only go up from there.
Jess was the best interviewee you could ask for; patient, kind, Jess laughed at my jokes and was an incredible storyteller. I’ll admit I had to think on my feet a little as Jess was so in-depth in her responses that she answered five of my questions in one answer but I was so grateful for her being so candid about her career and experiences. The hour flew by in five seconds, but I felt I achieved what I wanted to. I had sat across from my idol, soaked up every ounce of advice that she gave and left feeling like I could do it too.
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To add to the already incredible experience, Jess asked me about myself and what I was doing and I babbled out a whole bunch of sentences on what I was heading towards and how I was bashing down doors to get there. Then Jess said something that I will never forget.
“You know where you want to go, you have the path, just go for it.”
Jess also offered to put me in contact with the media team at Supercars, as she had someone help her in her career and she wanted to help me too. Wow, paying it forward and helping another woman break into the industry, what an incredible role model.
Fast forward 48 hours and I am walking into the pits at Sydney Motorsport Park about to ask if I can volunteer as a pit reporter for the TA2 Muscle Car Series. Jess’s words were ringing in my ears as I spoke to the media manager and the manager of the series, who happens to be Grant Denyer’s dad, Craig Denyer. No pressure.
Charlie volunteering as Pit Reporter for the TA2 Muscle Car Series.
Mr Denyer was gracious enough to offer me a trial for the weekend as a pit reporter so I threw myself into three days of reporting, presenting to camera, interviewing, emceeing and networking.
I can’t describe how it felt to be living my dream. I had watched other women do it and imagined that I could do it too and throwing yourself into the deep end is always the best way to soar higher than you thought you ever could. I took all the feedback and advice I could get my hands on; I made notes, wrote scripts and constantly offered my help. By the end of the three days my interview questions were better, my pieces to camera improved and I made connections that will serve me for a long time.
My choice to study at Macleay has propelled me forward faster than I could ever imagine. The real-world experience that I have received in just 12 weeks has kicked started my career and my confidence and I know I am in the best place to reach the heights that I want to. The only regret is that I didn’t find them sooner.
Journalism at Macleay College
Students become working journalists from the first day they step into Macleay. They work on real stories in a real newsroom across all media platforms.
Journalism students are taught by industry experts that are up to date with the latest trends and are well connected in the industry.
Curious to know more about the Journalism programs at Macleay? Check out the