Written from Experience

Journalist Precision

While many students study journalism at University with the aim of being journalists, I believe the skills obtained during the course translate fluidly to copywriting.

For my final Project, as part of my Masters Degree in Journalism at UTS, I produced a 26 min television documentary examining the advent of the refugee activist movement protesting against the Howard Government’s policies for asylum seekers. In compiling the documentary I followed the activities of three strands of the movement who were all fighting against the same policies, only with different tactics. Left-wing activists held rallies, established organisations, such as Amnesty held events and north shore mothers wrote letters.

The documentary won five awards including the prestigious Wanda Jamrozik Prize from the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism and a Highly Commended Ossie Award, for Best Broadcast Current Affairs Story by a Postgraduate Student, from the Journalism Education Association.

Having seven years between finishing honours at Sydney University and starting a Masters Degree, I specifically chose journalism because of the additional skills I’d acquire by studying this specific style of communication at an advanced level. 

For me, writing was always instinctive; it seemed to come naturally. But what a Masters Degree in Journalism did was to hone and perfect my writing style. It taught me how to use language economically and to convey messages succinctly and clearly. I learnt how to effectively structure a piece of work, to tell the story, to use anecdotes and quotes, to impart information.

I did quite well in my Masters Degree. The UTS Humanities Faculty made me the 2006 Most Outstanding Journalism Masters Student, which in effect meant I had topped the year. However, it was the skills that I gained from studying journalism that I continue to use every single day as a copywriter.

I explained my views in a Career FAQs publication on Journalism for aspiring journalists. I was asked, "How did your Masters in Journalism pave the way for your current job (at the ABC)."

I responded by saying, "It's useful to think of a degree in journalism as a communications degree since it prepares you for a career in communications. It's an opportunity to develop and hone your verbal and written communication skills."

Read more articles on the attributes of a copywriter.