Journalist Kristy Muir always had a passion for writing coupled with a curious nature, but never thought she could make money from being creative.
A circuitous route to university, she left school at 16 at the start of year 12 before working for a couple of years in retail, hospitality and hairdressing.
“I then thought I should complete my schooling with the goal of enrolling at university and moving into a professional career,’’ she says.
Although making it into her first preference program in education, she deferred for a year to travel. When she returned from backpacking solo through Europe, taking photos, meeting amazing people and writing about her experiences, she decided she wanted to be a journalist.
Once she moved across into a Bachelor of Journalism, she was firmly on course to utilise her inherent creativity and build a career in her chosen profession.
“There were so many things I loved about my degree. The like-minded people, including three I met in my classes who are now my best friends and the amazing and talented lecturers and tutors, some of whom I have now had the privilege to work with as a professional.
“And of course the actual courses that gave me a broad knowledge of not only journalism, but politics, creative writing, digital writing and website design.”
Above all, Kristy credits the practical side of her study, an internship with the Sunshine Coast Daily, with helping her land her first job in journalism.
“I started the internship at the beginning of my third year and after only one, very long, shift I knew journalism was the career for me,’’ she says.
After a few months interning up to four days a week on the Sunshine Coast while still studying at the Gold Coast campus three days a week she was offered a job as the entertainment writer. She then moved through a variety of roles including entertainment editor, general news reporter, digital producer, and community journalist and photographer.
In 2015 she moved on to the Gold Coast Bulletin as a reporter and digital producer before taking up her current role as Quest Community Newspapers’ Southern Star news editor.
“My role is diverse and very rewarding as I am a community journalist, newspaper designer, photographer, digital producer, sub-editor, videographer and social media manager.
“It is a balancing act to do everything but it also is such a great feeling to see your print product going from strength-to-strength as well as your online content. It is a lot of trial and error to see what does and doesn’t work on both platforms but I love the thrill of it all.”
Kristy’s advice to prospective journalism/communication students is to get work experience or an internship as soon as possible.
“Even before you start your degree to see if you like the field you have chosen to study.
“For those wanting to be a journalist my advice is to read, watch and listen to everything you can. Watch the news on the TV, listen to it on the radio and read it online and in print.
“Also build on your general knowledge, read blogs, books, magazines, whatever you can get your hands on. When it comes to landing a job, you might have to work for free for a few months before a position comes up. It is the people who refuse to give up that will land the jobs and continue a career in journalism or communications.”