Recently I talked to 4 first year Journalism students, Kurt, Codie, Matt and Eddie, about why they decided to be journalists and if they were concerned about being able to find a job
When asked why he decided to become a journalist Kurt explained that he believed, “Every human has a right to be treated as an equal, and be provided with equal opportunities within their life.” However he believed a lot of the issues in our world are “plagued with an undercurrent of ambiguity and sensationalism; people only want to listen to what is culturally relevant to them”. Kurt then continued, “I want to provide coverage and reflection on events that are plaguing our world. Journalism provides me with the capacity to do so.”
Codie simply stated she was studying journalism because her teachers said she would be good at it and thought it would be an “interesting career option that would open a lot of different paths.”
Matt told me how he wanted to get into journalism because he wanted to create pieces that “focus on social issues that can help improve society by educating people.”
Eddie said he decided to study journalism because he wanted to “learn to write at a professional level” and that he has “always been interested in news media.”
When I asked about any anxiety’s they had about job security as journalists a certain pattern emerged through most of their answers.
Kurt describes the journalism world as a “high vicious cycle. We struggle to get a job within the industry, then we may struggle to hold onto this job, and so we are then placed right back at square one.” He says that it can be “quite unnerving at times to think about”, however he is sure that he would adapt quite quickly.
Codie told me she was anxious about not finding a job because of the competitiveness of the career. She explains, “It’s a small journalism market and everyone wants the same jobs and I always doubts my abilities.”
Matt stated, “I’m terrified of not getting a job I love journalism and believe that it can do a lot of good but it’s a harsh job market.” He also said he thinks, “Blogging makes it really hard to get a paying job as well. It’s beginning to feel like Journalism is more of a hobby than a career.”
Eddie told me he thinks it’s increasingly hard to be a journalist today with “the emergence of the internet as the dominant media platform… as it has saturated the market with citizen journalism and it seems like there is an oversupply of journalists.” He doesn’t believe he won’t get a job though stating that he believes “that anyone who really wants to find work will find work in Australia. There are plenty of jobs in our country if you are willing to work hard.
…or maybe it just makes for bad news. The lack of reporting and way in which poverty and people in poverty are portrayed by mainstream media, most notably news programs, is outrageous. Which leads me to ask, why is an issue so prevalent throughout the world is given so little justice by the media.
A report done by FAIR showed that in the U.S., poverty is reported less than 0.02% of the time, in comparison science has 0.6%, education 1.2%, immigration 1.4%, business 4%and politics 16%. The report also showed that stories that featured the term “billionaire” had nearly a four to one ratio with poverty coverage.
The way in which some of the media portray poverty was brought to light recently though when Barack Obama criticised Fox News while giving a talk on poverty at Georgetown University. The president said:
“I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction. I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu. They will find folks who make me mad. I don’t even know where they find them. ‘I don’t want to work; I just want a free Obamaphone or whatever.’”
Jon Stewart further criticised Fox News on The Daily Show, showing Stuart Varney respond to the president’s speech, in which he says the president is “spinning his own policy failures…and blames us the ‘honest messengers’.” To which Stewart then shows a Montage of stories from Fox News calling the poor ‘lazy’ or ‘freeloaders’. Stewart then exclaims “How F**king removed from reality is Fox’s perception of their own coverage on poverty?”
Some of you may think its different here in Australia but it’s not. News programs like A Current Affair are constantly portraying the poor as doll bludgers who are bleeding the system. And in terms of the amount genuine reporting on poverty in Australia we are also not much better. Which shocked me at first but as I tried to think of news stories I’d seen the reality became clear, as the only stories I could think of were when ACOSS released the Poverty in Australia Report in 2012 and 2014, were we seemed to get huge waves of news but then after a while the news would go back to the same old spiel.
Freedom of speech has been a very important issue throughout history, especially for journalists. Always be the problem of backlash over what you’ve written or big companies/individuals trying to get you to be quite.
Recently the debate over free speech was brought into public light over Scott McIntyre’s tweets on Anzac Day. The SBS presenter first tweeted:
And then went on to tweet:
Shortly after these tweets Malcolm Turnbull Tweeted in response that the tweets were “offensive”, “inappropriate” and “despicable”. He then texted SBS managing director Michael Ebeid to alert him and SBS then promptly sacked McIntyre. Many people are now asking if SBS made the right decision. A lot of people are happy with SBS’s decision to sack McIntyre agreeing with Malcolm Turnbull that his tweets were “offensive” but there are a lot of people arguing that McIntyre had every right to say what he tweeted as he has the right to free speech.
When I first heard about Scott McIntyre’s tweets and sequential sacking I agreed that yes Scott McIntyre has the right to speak free speech but I thought as he was a journalist associated with SBS, and a lot of people were offended by his tweets that SBS did have grounds to fire him. After looking at what he actually said though and then looking historically I found what he was saying is for the most part the truth. Some people would then argue that it was the timing of his tweets that made them ‘inappropriate’, and to that what I would say is that if he had not said it on Anzac Day then it wouldn’t have created so much discussion and less people would have looked for and found the truth.
Alright Grant so if you just like to tell me a bit about yourself…
Well I am 6’1, I weigh 165lbs, (laughing) no, no alright I live in Wollongong, I’m originally from Kiama, a lot of hanging out with my mates and I love playing basketball.
Alright, so what is it you love about basketball?
Well, it’s a lot of fun, and there’s a lot of satisfaction ball in over and over again, and being able to dunk on somebody. I love the swish of the net. Basketball’s always been a great stress reliever, something I can do to clear my mind during a hectic week.
When did you stop playing?
When I was six.
Alright, was that with your family?
No. They didn’t really like basketball.
Okay, so has that changed?
In what way?
Will now they all play basketball.
Alright, cool. So you have little family matches?
Yeah, we get pretty competitive. It’s always been me and Lloyd (brother) against Ellie and Sophie (older and younger sisters). (Laughing) we always beat them.
So where do you think your love of basketball came from?
I’m not sure I guess it’s grown from playing and I guess you see the NBA and you’re like, ‘that’s really cool, I want to do that.’ You get to see all the players be really good at basketball, and I guess that kind of became a dream that I’ve always had not because of the money, but you kind of have no limit to what you can achieve.
Alright, so did you have a natural kind of talent for basketball?
Oh my gosh, I had no natural talent whatsoever. I was that kid who was just the worst that all sports. Basketball was the only one where I could kind of do something and because I loved it so much I trained at it and I’m still training. You know at the start like my dog Molly was probably better than me, from the age of 6 to 14 I couldn’t do anything, pass or dribble or shoot, nothing, but I loved it so I stuck with.
Okay, so was basketball being a team sport part of something that appealed to you?
Yes and I guess. It’s good because you can play with your mates and without them. So if you’re not getting on with them you can just play by yourself. Even though it’s fun as a team, at the end of the day there’s just you and a hoop.
You talk about your mates; did basketball give you a place where you could make some friends?
Yeah, especially at uni now I’ve started playing their and I’ve made a good ten, twenty mates. You know never met them before, but through basketball have been able to become really good friends.
Alright I guess we’ve heard a lot about your love of basketball. What are the other passions you have?
Umm, hanging out with mates, music, I love Chilli Peppers. I guess I don’t have many passions but what I am passionate about I’m very passionate about. Quality over quantity I guess, yeah.
Alright thanks for talking with me Grant, it’s generally cool hearing a bit of your story, Cheers.