Going bush

Much has been made of the contraction within the industry and the down sizing of newsrooms over the past 12 months.  It’s invariably led to the question: where are we going to get the ‘new blood’ to keep our industry going?

It’s still relatively rare for graduates of the various radio schools and colleges to land themselves a reading gig in a cap city newsroom.  I know of maybe a handful, who’ve successfully made that jump and have flourished.

So, where are we to get the next generation of news broadcasters?  When I started my radio journey there was that well-worn path to a major market and it always started in the bush.  I cut my teeth at 3NE Wangaratta and my year there gave me the skills to make the next move up the totem pole.

There aren’t as many of those country station newsrooms anymore.  But that’s not to say there aren’t career opportunities in the bush.  Regional radio is alive and well AND training up the next generation.

Monique Taylor is SCA’s Southern Group news director for NSW, Victoria and South Australia.  Based in Albury, Monique and her team of journalists in places like Mildura, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Mt Gambier and Bendigo are pumping out HUNDREDS of bulletins each and every week.

Under ACMA regulations, these bulletins must be 100 per cent local. That’s thousands of hours of local content ever year.

The way my guys runs things over this section of the network, we’re pure local and we have the national element of our feed coming out of the Gold Coast.  So you’ll have a local and national element:  two separate parts to the bulletin.

That’s a huge amount of local content as nothing can ever be repeated and every story has to be freshly written.”

“It’s a lot of prep.  We look at stuff today for tomorrow. You do an interview and you keep asking the politician over and over again, because you know you need four different grabs.  You also try to cover everything and anything with them to generate more content”.

Given that these journos are at the beginning of the careers and often straight out of uni, it can be a daunting learning curve and requires a lot of discipline.  Monique acts as a mentor to the younger team members, but says they quickly learn the benefit of team work, even if the stations are separated by hundreds of kilometres.

We’re always talking to one another and working together. You might have Mildura voicing up a story for Orange and Orange might be doing something for Bendigo, while Bendigo is helping Wagga.

“It’s very much of a share arrangement with multiple voicers coming from other stations.  It makes it sound like you’ve got a lot of boots on the ground.  The team is helping each other out and I’m really proud of that”.

It’s a huge work load for a young journo and in some ways it’s a ‘boot camp’ for broadcasters. But the skills learned in this environment will make for better journos.


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