A chance meeting at a conference inspired Griffith University Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication graduand Hamish Townsend to pursue one of his greatest passions.
The manager of an Indigenous radio station in the Northern Territory, Hamish said he had always been obsessed with news and media.
“I have a diploma in film and TV production from the Victorian College of the Arts and I’ve run an Indigenous radio station in the desert for two years, but my only natural skill is as a writer,” he said.
While at a conference in 2005 Hamish met Mike Meadows, one of his future lecturers.
“I was spending every spare minute reading these extremely complicated academic essays for my wife who was studying an MA in education,” he said.
“For some reason I’ve always understood academic writing, even though I’ve never had any academic inclinations, so I’d read the reports and send her summaries on what they were about. Mike saw me doing this and asked me to do his course.”
Hamish said that while working alone via distance education was sometimes lonely, the flexible attitude of his lecturers was important in helping him complete the course.
“They provided the inspiration and support when I needed it most,” he said.
“My big gift from the university was the contact with newspapers and agencies that allowed me to do internships at The Australian in Brisbane, Agence France Press (AFP) in Malaysia and crikey.com.au in Melbourne.”
He spent two weeks at The Australian in Brisbane, three weeks at crikey.com.au in Melbourne and four weeks at the AFP in Kuala Lumpur.
Currently working as a freelance writer, Hamish has been published in newspapers and magazines including The Australian, Inside Sport, Outback Magazine and The Age.
Hamish will graduate with more than 1300 students at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre on July 20.