How to kickstart your career in TV

Credit: Archie Staines

You may be studying communications at university, and thinking to yourself “how do I actually get into the television media industry?” If so, this article is for you. 

In recent years, the television industry has suffered major losses through news program axings, especially in regional areas. You may think it’s impossible to even get a start – but it’s not. I am in my second year of studying Journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and have gained employment at the Nine Network, Seven Network and SKY, all being based in and around Bathurst as a camera operator and occasional journalist. 

It all started when I was in Year 10 at high school when our cohort was offered work experience in whatever industry or area interested us. I chose television and organised a couple of weeks of placement with Nine News Central West. It was very daunting walking into the newsroom on day one, especially when you are only 14. But I knew I had a lot to offer. But every day from then for a couple of weeks I went in and tried to take in as much as possible. From the strawberry needle saga to the drought plaguing the region – it was definitely an interesting time to be working in the media. While I was there I networked with everyone in the newsroom which included the journalists and camera crews. I knew this is what I wanted to do as a career. I stayed in contact with staff members after my placement and landed a job as a casual camera operator at the start of Year 12 and from that point on every spare day I had I was working with the team at Nine Orange. My weekends consisted of filming every sport under the sun – from rugby league to union, soccer, AFL and cricket. Most of my school holidays were spent in the newsroom. 

Credit: Archie Staines

Recently I’ve even had the opportunity to be reporting in front of the camera, filling in as a journalist for Nine and even picking up casual camera work with PRIME7 News in Orange and SKY Racing in Bathurst. 

So at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what degree or diploma you have – it may help but it’s all about your passion and drive for telling stories. And the only way to get those things is to get your foot in the door and gain experience. And the best way you can get your foot in the door is by applying for internships and placements at television stations and media outlets. Network with as many people as possible, ask for their emails, follow up with potential future work opportunities. Add all this experience to your resume, any experience is better than nothing. Create a video showreel or portfolio with your work. This can be anything from footage you have shot to mock reports and assignments you have done. Another tip is to watch the news, get an idea of what television channels are reporting on and how they are reporting on it. 

The real truth is, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So start networking!