Category Archives: My journey as a budding journalist

Make safety your family’s priority this Easter

On Friday morning I met Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey and QLD Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Lee Johnson. They have an important Easter safety message for Queensland families:

Photo sourced from ‘Queensland Fire and Emergency Services – QFES’ Facebook page:



Internships – The Industry Experience We’re Fighting For

I am now entering the third year of my four year degree. I know its time to start getting industry experience and I’m really excited about this, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  It’s hard to know what to expect… How much will they expect me to know?  Am I qualified enough to even be an intern?  I know these may seem like silly concerns but I’m wanting to make a good impression.  What was your first intern experience like?  I would love to hear from you!


Experience is key

This post was written for a uni assessment in which it was important to specify a particular job of interest.  Although I have an interest in disaster management I am interested in a number of different career paths at the moment.  Thankfully I have another two years to figure out where I want to start.

In order to be successful as a media and communications strategist for disaster management in the future, I have involved myself in several relevant activities now.  Firstly, I have joined the SES to help in the development of my communication skills as well as gain valuable knowledge in the area of disaster relief whilst giving back to my community.  Secondly, I am making a conscious effort to develop my social media skills, a valuable competency in our technologically driven society.

Wearing Orange

State Emergency ServiceI am a newly inducted community member (lowest rank) in the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) following three months of introductory training which honed in on the basics.  In order to become a media and communication specialist for disaster management I think it’s important for me to have practical experience in dealing with people who have been affected by a disaster.  I believe having strong and effective communication skills requires experience and  understanding.  You can’t begin to communicate effectively with someone if you don’t have the experience or understanding.  This is especially true when it comes to dealing with those who are in potentially devastating or stressful situations.  I still have a lot to experience and learn from the SES but I know that in time my experiences will help me understand why certain procedures are in place.


The Importance of Social Media

This image is an example of a post I made during the January 2013 floods.  As you can see, this tweet was retweeted by 10 different users including QPS Media Unit which is the Queensland Police Service twitter account.  During an emergency it is important to restrict travel.  Driving over this bridge was causing a traffic hazard as people were having to turn around and drive back over a bridge which had rising flood waters below it.  No emergency services had arrived at this stage to direct traffic so not only did my tweet potentially provide new information to QPS but it advised locals who are on twitter of the hazard so they could take an alternate route.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.45.37 PM


This slideshow presents pictures that I took during the 2013 January floods.  All of these images were uploaded to twitter as a means with which to provide consumers of news with immediate updates of the disaster.

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Media Conference Story for Uni – Media Conference attended on 10/10/12 for QUT ‘Newswriting’ students

HIV numbers are predicted to blow out in future decades after reports the LNP has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to preventative health.


Tristan Douglas, Lead Organiser of the Together Union was concerned preventative health is no longer a priority for Queensland due to recent cuts in health.


“There are 11 jobs state wide looking at tuberculosis, HIV, Aids and other communicable diseases as well as smoking as well as cancer prevention,” said Mr Douglas.


Mr Douglas accused the state government of “running away from their responsibilities.”


“If we don’t get preventative health right, across the board by 2030 the majority of the Queensland budget is going to be chewed up by health spending as our population ages,” he said.


Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller, was concerned the Newman governments cuts to more than 150 jobs in preventative health would increase pressure on frontline health services.


“Preventative health programs are designed to stop people getting sick before they need the services of our hospitals and medical community,” Ms Miller said.


“By cutting them you increase the burden on our public health system.”


According to the Queensland Association for Healthy Community (QAHC), the number of people living with HIV is set to increase by 56% in 2020 from the 2010 figures.


This estimates that HIV numbers in Queensland will soar from 2180 people in 2010, to 5408 people in 2020.


Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg said $2.5 million in HIV funding was being redirected to ensure strategies were focussed on “awareness and prevention”.


“I refuse to turn a blind eye to what are obviously ineffective campaigns at reducing HIV diagnosis rates,” Mr Springborg said.


“Instead of this funding being administered by QAHC, which has published its intention to move the core of its activity away from AIDS/HIV to more general, political issues, it will be moved into the control of an expert panel – a Ministerial Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS.”


“There will be no cut to resources for HIV/AIDS strategies.”


Mr Springborg did not comment on how the job cuts in the area of preventative health would affect the delivery of such awareness and prevention strategies.


By Lauren Geldard


Nursing Graduates – ‘Newswriting’ class story

The states newest nursing graduates are among those concerned about future job prospects in Queensland following reports there may be no graduate positions available for the 2013 intake.

Professor Helen Edwards, Head of QUT nursing school said she had been given no official indication as to the number of graduate positions available.

“But we have been informed there may be no graduate positions offered,” Professor Edwards said.

In Queensland alone it’s estimated there will be approximately 4000 new nursing graduates at the end of this year.

Figures provided by a Queensland Health spokesperson highlight the steady decrease in job offers for nursing graduates over recent years.

From 2009, offers were at a height of 946; this decreased to 785 at the start of 2012, before recent health cuts.

“We are aware that there may be an issue experienced in the coming year in having sufficient numbers of graduate employment opportunities,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said.

Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) secretary Beth Mohle was concerned cuts in the number of graduate positions being offered would affect the Queensland nursing sector in the future.

“If people haven’t got confidence they will be able to get a job after they finish their course of study why would they invest time, effort and money in the form of HECS,” Ms Mohle said.

“We’re already hearing anecdotally from students that the confidence is waning.”

Ms Mohles’ concern for the future of health in Queensland stems from figures which suggest, come 2015 there will be a shortage of “between 5000-6000 nurses and midwives” in Queensland.

“There’s huge workforce pressures already, it just makes no sense at all to be sacking people right now or cutting budgets,” Ms Mohle said.

Third year, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) nursing student Kylee Mann, believes people would be discouraged from studying nursing in the future.

“One of the main reasons I started studying nursing was because of the shortage and apparently they were needed,” Ms Mann said.

“But three years later that’s not the case.”


By Lauren Geldard

First Interviews

I’m in my first year, second semester of a journalism degree.

My first interview in this course was with ABC foreign correspondent Mark Corcoran, this was an amazing (yet nerve racking) experience for me.

5 months on (second semester) i’m doing a subject called ‘Newswriting,’ I absolutely love it! Not only has the subject (& teaching staff) been fabulous in helping my confidence to grow, the tips provided on how to actually approach interviews has been a big help that I didn’t have last time.

So, it finally came to that point in the semester where we were to come up with our own ‘news worthy’ story.  This involved thinking of something that hadn’t already been seen in the news, suss out potential sources and get interviews.  Now, that doesn’t seem too hard…right!?  The thing is, as soon as you say, ‘journalist’ or ‘student’ there’s a good chance people will change their attitude towards your unexpected phone call, which to a point is understandable…people are busy.  I must say however that my second crack at getting interviews was pretty successful, I found this almost surprising considering the potentially sensitive nature of my topic:

“The states newest nursing graduates are among those concerned about future job prospects in Queensland following reports there may be no graduate positions available for the 2013 intake.”

For this story I managed to secure interviews with; Helen Edwards the head of QUT nursing school, Beth Mohle the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) secretary & a third year QUT nursing student, Kylee Mann.  I originally had an interview lined up with a nursing director in QLD health but this fell through, they were however kind enough to provide a media response to some of my questions.

So that’s interviews done for my first story. I have learnt that in future it is important to narrow my subject field of questions (this will help immensely when it comes to determining one lead rather than multiple) & I now know that I am reasonably competent, I’m not going to draw a mental blank from nerves.  Now it’s onwards too story two.  Keep a look out for my first story which I will post in a week or so following marking.

Hello World / Attribution

As a first year journalism student I am learning a lot!  I am opening myself up to a world which has always seemed foreign as it is in many ways tightly locked up. It is an industry where the ability to prove yourself is reserved for those with the passion & determination to do whatever it takes.  To show those with the time and/or patience to listen, what you’re made of.  It’s a challenge, I accept & i’m just getting started.

In the space of the last 8 months I have thrown myself into the social media landscape including formats such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram & as of today, Word Press.  Facebook has been on my radar for several years, as a proud member of ‘Gen Y’ i’m sure this is no surprise.

It was only yesterday I got my first kick in the guts.  Although you’re always taught about the importance of attribution in order to avoid plagiarism, I don’t think it’s until your work is plagiarised (even in the most innocent of circumstances) that you understand how horrible it is.  So whilst social media is one of the most amazing tools of our time, it’s never been easier for comments, work or ideas to be plagiarised.  I think it was an important experience for me to have.  So here’s a shout out, a reminder…never underestimate the importance of ATTRIBUTION.

So forgive me if this first post is a little pointless & boring (I’m sure I will look back on it in years to come and cringe) but I thought it important to give an introduction into the industry (from my perspective) which I am happily intruding.  A starter of sorts, to see where this ‘blog’ experience takes me.