abc news 24 cross on screen

career profile | journalist

We often talk about diverse roles and having the opportunity to work across different mediums and liking the idea that we don’t really knowing what you are going to be doing in a days work – today, I have that exact role for you. Alina is such a dynamic generous women who has the ability to engage and relate with all walks of life – this is what makes her unique and perfect for her role as a Journalist. Going from working on a radio shift to covering breaking news on ABC television… did I say diverse? This career is not for the faint hearted but is for a passionate and well adjusted… Lets not waste any more time – I am super excited to introduce you to the world of Journalism and to the beautiful Alina Eacott.

Alina Eacott, Journalist, ABC

Brief description of your role: As a journalist in the ABC’s Adelaide newsroom I report for radio, television and online news. I also work as a newsreader, presenting radio news bulletins on 891 Adelaide, Classic FM and Radio National.

So… what do you actually do?

My days vary dramatically because we have so many different shifts. A morning radio shift begins at 5am, while a late radio shift finishes at 10pm. A television shift generally has more standard hours, starting at 8am or 10am. Sometimes you’ll arrive at work with a story booked in, but usually you come in not knowing what’s ahead, and you’ll cover breaking news. Often the first step is making calls and lining up interviews. You’ll then head out with a camera crew to do those interviews. That can sometimes be a simple task, other times it can be really difficult to find someone to speak on an issue, or people might be reluctant to talk and need some convincing. Once all the interviews have been gathered, I return to the office and write my script. Generally a television news story runs about 90 seconds, so you don’t have a lot of time to get everything across! Once an editor has approved my script, I use a studio to record my voiceover and then return to my desk to edit the story. At the ABC journalists are responsible for editing the vision and putting the story together. Once an editor has cast a look over the final product it will be approved to go to air. Throughout my day I’m also always filing radio stories, as the ABC has at least hourly radio bulletins on our various stations. We also have to file photos and additional information for our website, and on bigger stories, do live crosses to ABC News 24 – our 24 hour television news station. In some cases the story will also require a live cross into our flagship 7pm news bulletin.

Setting up for State Election live cross

How did you get to your position of being a News Reporter? I studied a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia. I also did an internship at the ABC, volunteered at Radio Adelaide, and did a 3 month exchange to Shanghai, China in my final year of study, where I interned at an English Language newspaper and magazine. After completing my degree I moved to the Riverland where I spent two years at the ABC’s Renmark office, before being transferred to the Adelaide newsroom.

Have you always wanted to work in the Media Industry?
I’ve always been an avid watcher and reader of news and current affairs from around the world, but as a teenager I actually wanted to be in the performing arts industry, and began my tertiary studies in Brisbane studying dance at QUT. When I realised that wasn’t exactly the right path for me, I decided to turn my passion for news and current affairs, performance and travel into a career!

What do you love about your role?
I love meeting people from all walks of life and hearing their stories. Being a journalist you’ll interact with everyone from politicians, sports people, and police, to celebrities and everyday people. The job consequently offers a huge amount of variety. Every day is different and most days you arrive at work with no idea of what’s in store. I also really enjoy the high pressure environment that is live television. You’ll often find yourself doing a live cross on breaking news. It can be nerve-wracking but also hugely exciting.

In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
One of my biggest achievements was being chosen to travel to Queensland to help report on last year’s devastating floods. Not being from the area, it was a big challenge to get my head around whole new regions and deliver live crosses updating the public on the situation. It was not a story I could afford to make any mistakes on when people are relying on the information to make decisions. It was incredibly humbling meeting people who’d been affected by the natural disaster.

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
There have been many, but one that stands out was when I did a television current affairs report for the 7.30 program about the dance company Australian Dance Theatre. It is far and beyond my favourite dance company, and having the opportunity to interview the Artistic Director Garry Stewart, and several of the dancers, was a big thrill, and an amazing opportunity to combine my love for dance, and journalism! That work day seemed too good to be true!

live cross cherryville bushfire

What would be the least favourite aspect of your role?
The toughest part of being a journalist is when you have to try and interview people who have just experienced something tragic. Contacting families who have lost a loved one is always extremely hard. Sometimes people do not react well, and I can understand that. Other times people relish the opportunity to be able to speak publicly about their loved one. I think the best thing a journalist can do is be as gentle as possible and respect a person’s wishes if they do not want to speak to the media.

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work in the Media industry?
My biggest advice for someone interested in working in the media is to do as much work experience as you can while studying. A journalism degree is important, but on its own it won’t get you a job. The more internships you can do the better, you’ll make great contacts and get a real idea of what the job is like.

Doesn’t it make you want to investigate more into the world of journalism… what an inspirational, motivational career profile – Love it! Any questions for Alina or about the Media world? Would love you to comment below 

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