There's less than 2 weeks to register for Media Talks, the Media Careers Panel taking place in Melbourne on August 30th. Yesterday, we got to know what all our panelists were doing when they were 16. Today here's the full Q&A thanks to my mate Sandi Sieger of Onya Magazine. For those who have still yet to register this may offer a little bit more insight.
What's the biggest lesson you've learnt in your career?
Auskar: No man is an island! Working in the media is a collaborative effort and achieving the best outcome is always a team effort. I think we like to believe that we can do it all ourselves but the reality is, the best work is always done with other talented people around you.
Megan: If in doubt, leave it out. If you can't verify something, back it up or check it, get rid of it. It will most likely come back to bite you on the bum.
Sarah: Opportunities come when you're in the middle of doing what you do well. Work hard and passionately, do what you do well, and you will be noticed. I didn't apply for my job as editor ofCosmopolitan, as an example. In fact, I'd never have thought of editing a women's mag and had never in my life read Cosmo. I was happily writing for a Melbourne newspaper magazine, writing extra columns in my spare time. Cosmo's publisher read my columns and asked to meet me in Sydney. After a few chats, I was invited to edit the magazine (it was a slightly longer story than that, but only slightly).
Darren: Try to build a career around your passions, values and core beliefs. Your working life spans decades and it is difficult to sustain and motivate yourself over the long haul unless you’re energised by what you are doing. As they say - ‘life’s too short’ - fill it with things that matter to you!
Faustina: The simple adage, which is translates to everyday life - treat others how you'd like to be treated. Just because you're on the payroll that comes with a public profile doesn't mean you treat the crew that you work with any differently. I’ve witnessed other people’s livelihoods crash and burn because they’ve been horrible to others, the talent was there but blinded by ego (in other words, insecurity).
Rachel: Never take anything for granted. Listen to advice from your peers and take their perspective on board. I've also learnt that anything worth succeeding in is never easy- you have to be strong and committed to your goals and aspirations for your life path, and guaranteed if you do it will pay off .
What’s one piece of advice you can impart to anyone wanting to forge a career in the media industry?
Auskar: Hard work always pays off! Shortcuts may be tempting, but in the end, it's the hard yards that will yield the best results, sometimes not straight away, but always in the end!
Megan: Do it. Do what you love - whether that's the writing side, the people-meeting side. The world will always need good writing no matter the medium.
Sarah: Blog. Just write. Get your "art" out there. Online is best for this...an amazing opportunity to both practice the craft and to advertise your wares. If I were an editor today, I wouldn't take anyone seriously unless they had an outlet for their writing that I could view.
Rachel: Take every opportunity you can to earn your stripes in the business, but never SELL OUT or lose sight of what you wanted to achieve in the media industry. Remember what attracted you to the profession first and foremost and the rest will follow.
Faustina: Passion first and foremost. If you're in it for other reasons, for example, purely for attention (especially in TV) I think you'll be left feeling incredibly unfulfilled. And it’s not all glamourous. For example my previous job at Video Hits was 90 per cent desk job - research, meetings etc. A lot of people didn’t seem to get that but I LOVED it and the the other 10 percent that went with it.
Darren: Gather as many experiences and skills as you can. I look back on where I am today and realize that it is completely shaped by the last 40 years of life and the experiences that I’ve had.
- Those early ‘businesses’ that I had as a kid taught me so about what I was good at and about working with customers.
- The trips I took overseas in my late teens shaped my worldview and gave me a sense of adventure.
- Stepping out of my comfort zone to do public speaking training as a 17 year old helped me discover a passion.
- Investing time into learning photography ended up giving me an appreciation for design and creativity - and also led me to start a photography website that is now my main source of income.
- The numerous part time jobs I had as a teenager working under different bosses while I studied at university shaped how treat my own staff today.
The list could go on. I’m a big believer in getting yourself out of your comfort zone to try new things because you’ll draw on those experiences over and over again in your career and life.
What do you love about the Australian media industry?
Rachel: How small it is! I'm always amazed at how many people you cross paths with again and again in different roles and productions. It's an ever changing beast and most people stay on for the ride of their professional life!
Auskar: Looking at the TV industry specifically, I love how spoilt for choice we are for a country of our size. As well as the commercial networks, we have two excellent, and relatively well funded public broadcasters-- a country like the United States barely has one! And both the ABC and SBS have largely been able to operate outside the influence of the government of the time, despite being funded by them. It's easy to take the two broadcasters for granted, but I think we have to remind ourselves that we're quite lucky to have them both.
Megan: The camaraderie, esp at the moment given the current climate of job cuts etc.
Sarah: Right now I love that it's being forced to return to good journalistic principles. The industry is going through a massive shift. But, you'll notice, the people who are surviving are those with something to say and good, basic journalistic skills. The frauds are just not lasting. This is a great thing and I think the future will be exciting and ever-shifting.
Darren: I love that we’re seeing more and more opportunities for independent individuals and groups to rise up and create their own media. We’re living in an exciting time!
What do you loathe about it?
Rachel: Again, how small it is!
Faustina: I try to avoid what I loathe. And I believe in people power and people creating shifts in industries especially when they’re not going as well. Like any industry, the media industry can only be good as the people that are in it. We need to maintain good intentions and creativity. When the people embody it the work does too. Good always prevails anyway.
Sarah: The pockets where dinosaur principles are still in place. TV is shocking for it. I found TV a very stifling place to be, especially as a woman in her late thirties. I'm not surprised it's suffering so badly. But it will adjust.. and for the better.
Auskar: I think we often fall into the trap of being too parochial. Of course what happens in Australia and to Australians is important, but we should also balance that interest with what happens beyond of our backyard. The same goes for events that happen overseas. You often find that some coverage is preoccupied with the 'Australian angle' i.e. what happens to Australians and Australia's interests during these particular events. Again, while this is important, it should be balanced with the broader story.
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