The word busy is an understatement when it comes to describing life after university for Sarah Baker. Less than a year after graduating from La Trobe University, with a Bachelor of Journalism and Diploma in Languages, she’s already returned from a four-month trip around Europe and has scored her first full time job as a journalist.
‘I’m excited about the next stage of my journalism career,’ Sarah says. ‘I’ve just landed a full time job as junior journalist with Prime Creative Media, working on three of their magazines and websites including BeanScene, Global Coffee Review and Italianicious.’
The 22-year-old began her journalism career writing book reviews for the Australian Catholics Magazine when she was in high school. Nowadays, she still contributes to the quarterly publication writing feature articles about everything from the Black Saturday bushfires to peace activists in Iraq; only now she gets paid for her work.
While studying at La Trobe she wrote for upstart and Rabelais, the university’s student newspaper, and managed to complete a 14-week internship at the Melbourne Leader in her final year. She says the experience involved ‘working in a fast paced environment, conducting interviews, pitching story ideas and writing hard and colour stories to a real deadline’, which tested her ability as a journalist.
A university assignment even led her to a media stint with a local sporting event. ‘I found the oldest man running the Melbourne Marathon, conducted an interview and through persistence the story landed itself on page four of the Sunday Age. That experience also gave me the opportunity to work as a media assistant for the IMG Melbourne Marathon 2009.’
Sarah offers this piece of advice to emerging journalists: ‘be innovative, be creative and don’t be afraid to aim for the impossible.’
‘Weeks of persisting has seen me snap interviews with the producer of Underbelly, talk to MPs and get quotes from sports commentators including Samantha Lane,’ she says. ‘From knowing no one in the industry, I’m slowly expanding my little black book of contacts. Don’t wait for someone to hand you a career on a silver platter, work hard for it, earn it, and you’ll succeed.’
Sarah starts work for Prime Creative Media on Monday, and while she is looking forward to the experience, she says, ‘with my passion for travel, I hope to one day work as a foreign correspondent and work hard sipping a vino bianco on the Amalfi Coast. But for now I’m content in drinking coffee and expanding my skills and knowledge as a real life working journalist.’
If you know of any other La Trobe Journalism or Media Studies graduates who should be profiled in our ‘Where are they now?’ section, please let us know. And yes, you can nominate yourself. Find out about other La Trobe journalism graduates here.
Jessica Buccolieri is a Journalism Honours student at La Trobe University and a member of the upstart editorial team. She is currently writing a thesis about the effects of social media on modern journalism. You can follow her on Twitter: @bjessa.