Interview: Caroline Overington, Journalist and Writer



Caroline Overington is one of Australia's best female journalists. She has had en extraordinary career that includes working for The Age and as New York correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald. Currently she works as a reporter for The Australian. To describe her as an award winning journalist is also no understatement -  in November 2006 Caroline won the prestigious Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Journalism and then the 2007 Walkley Award for investigative journalism for her coverage of the AWB scandal. 
The incredibly talented woman has also written three books including Kickback (2007) is based on her coverage of the AWB scandal and a novel, Ghost Child was released last year with rave reviews. Her novel I came to say goodbye was released two months that touches upon the subject of child protection. 
There is an incredible video interview on her friend Mia Freedman's website Mama Mia about the issue of parents killing their children after the death of a little boy called Imran Zilic and the legal issues of reporting that surround it - both the video and Caroline's article on it are pieces of extremely high quality journalism that will bring you to tears. If you are after something amazing to watch, I suggest you view it here.
She is also a mother of twins but I was reluctant to ask her how she manages juggling her children while being a writer. Why? Because I felt that I was asking a sexist question. Do men who are successful journalists or just successful in their own right often get asked, 'How they manage juggling their kids with their work,' - No. 
She is a fantastic writer and we were absolutely thrilled that she agreed to an interview for Doorways. Take particular note of her answer to how she get's into her 'writing mode' - very well answered. 

How did you get into journalism?
I did work experience at the Melton Mail Express, in my home town of Melton, at the age of 13. I took a cadetship on suburban newspapers after I finished my HSC at 17, hoping to one day get on at The Age (The Age owned the local papers in those days.)

What was it like working in New York to become a foreign correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age?
The Age and the SMH sent me to New York in 2002. My husband and I had twins. They were 18 months old. It was amusing to us, trying to get their big stroller onto the subway (nobody has a car); and through the snow in winter. But obviously it was magical. We had toboggan rides, and rode the carousel at Toys R Us in Times Square, and played in Central Park, and went ice-skating. I even did some work!

In your opinion, what are some of the differences between working for News Ltd and Fairfax?
The most fun I've ever had in my life is working for newspapapers. I don't really mind which ones.

How do you bounce between writing fiction and non-fiction?
It is often difficult, as a reporter, to tell the whole story: the police won't talk to you, except through spokespeople who often weren't even at the scene of the crime; the hospital won't talk to you; the surgeon operating on the victim won't; very often, even witnesses are told to keep quiet.
That is very difficult from when I started 18 years ago, and you could just bowl up to a crime scene and see things for yourself. We've become very strange and secretive, usually to protect the reputations of politicians.
In fiction, I have found a freedom to write what really goes on in society: I can say what I've seen when I've walked into houses where children have been neglected; I can discuss what it might be like to be a child whose brother was murdered by the parents, having to grow up with a mother in jail, and so forth.
My readers are clever: they know it's all true.

What are some of the habits you always do to get yourself into 'writing-mode'?
I have had many giggles about this with my friend Mia Freedman. We both have young children. We are always saying how marvellous it would be to `catch the Muse' and go into a light and beautiful room and write away, with a tea cup and saucer, as the inspiration strikes. The reality is quite different: the children might need a volcano for a school project. Lunches have to be made. So I write when I can.

What is your advice to other aspiring journalists?
It is much easier to get started these days, but you have to be prepared to write for nothing for a while. Write for blogs. Write your own blog! Write for the local paper. Write for the university magazine. Keep all your clippings. And then apply, apply, apply, for every job you can find.

Interview: Tim Burrowes, Editor and Publisher of mUmBRELLA



TIM BURROWES loves blogs. He loves them so much he admits to almost getting fired from his job in Dubai in 2004 from being so fascinated by the vast array of information they offer. The renegade of the media industry has fast become one of Australia's most prominent media commentators. 

He has previously worked in London and Dubai as an editor of media orientated magazines as well as editor and associate publisher of Australian B&T magazine. Yet two years ago, Tim decided to go out on his own and start his website mUmBRELLA, which focuses on the media and marketing industry in Australia.  Since then, he has had over 3.8 million hits, branched into his online weekly video show The mUmBO Report, weekly podcasts, hired 6 people and has over 20,000 email subscribers. The website also has a great jobs section (note to readers!) that has listed over 8000 jobs in two years.

It is no secret on this blog, that I am an avid reader on mUmBRELLA. The content gets me excited and I always find something interesting on the website to read, along with learning a lot how about the media and marketing industry shape themselves. I was also lucky enough to meet Tim at the mUmBRELLA Question Time breakfast in late October this year - it is always exciting when you meet someone you look up to - and he was very friendly and kind.

The thing that strikes me about Tim is his honest and supportive nature through his site. There is something very fun and almost cheeky about the way he comments upon different issues in the media industry - it makes for entertaining reading and gives you something to think about. He is also not afraid for his website to be controversial which adds to how interesting it is. 

Why and how did you become a journalist/publisher?
I stumbled into a local newspaper at the age of 18 as a junior reporter, planning on doing it for a year or so before going to university. I never went.

Why are you passionate about the media and marketing industry with mUmBRELLA?
There are many good rounds to have as a journalist, but when you write about media, you write about your own world. It’s interesting at any time, but with so much change happening right now, there’s no more interesting subject to cover.

What's it like being your own boss? What makes you get out of bed every day?
As a journalist, particularly once you become an editor, you are effectively your own boss, even if you do technically have one. So although this is the first time I’m one of the owners, it’s not the first time I’ve had freedom to steer the editorial ship as I see fit. The best thing? You get to make things happen. The worst? If it’s no good, it’s your own fault.

What have been some of the best things you have got to do in your career so far?
Too many to list. This profession gave me the opportunity to work in Australia, for which I’ll always be grateful. But overall, the best thing about journalism is that (on behalf of your readers) you get a front row seat, you get to ask people in power in questions and (generally) they feel they should answer them.

The old cliched question but you are one clever guy , we would love know, what is your advice to others who want to get into the media industry?
Do whatever you can to give somebody a reason to hire you – that means writing whenever you can (certainly blogging if nothing else), and when you spot opportunities, be persistent. If you sit back, somebody pushier than you will get the opportunity.
And when you get the foot in the door, work hard to exceed expectations for whatever it is you’ve been asked to do. You need to prove to the editor that you can deliver whatever it is you were asked to – it’s not enough to have a good reason why you tried hard but didn’t deliver what was asked. Find a way to get the story.

And if you are looking for an excellent insight into how he works and online media, check out this video by Telstra (love his t shirt too): 

Sarah's column: Is the position of editor of a daily newspaper in Australia only for men?



THERE was recently a marvelous video on mUmBRELLA (my favourite website - the best source of information on the Australian media out there) that generally talked about women in the workplace in the media industry.  They touched upon the issues of there not being enough women on boards, a lack of women in senior roles and women struggling to put themselves forward to win the senior positions.

Inspired by that, I now pose this question for you: 

Is it difficult for women to get to the top position as editor of a daily newspaper? 

After doing some research it appears there are not any women who are currently editors of daily newspapers in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald Editor - Peter Fray
The West Australian Editor - Brett McCarthy
Herald Sun Editor - Phil Gardner
The Advertiser Editor - Melvin Mansell
The Age Editor - Paul Ramadge
The Courier-mail Editor - David Fagan
The Geelong Advertiser Editor - Steele Tallon
The Daily Telegraph Editor - Gary Linnell
The Australian Editor - Paul Whittaker
The Financial Review - Michael Gill
Sunshine Coast Daily Editor - Mark Furler
The Canberra Times Editor - Rod Quinn
The Hobart Mercury Editor - Garry Bailey
The Newcastle Herald Editor - Roger Brock
The Cairns Post Editor - Andrew Holman
Townsville Bulletin Editor - Peter Gleeson
The Weekly Times Editor - Ed Gannon

That is 17 male editors.

This leaves me with so many questions:

At the moment I am reading Man Bites Murdoch by Bruce Guthrie. It is a fascinating account of his career in newspapers (he was an editor of many daily newspapers) as well as his time battling with Rupert Murdoch on different issues. But it also strikes me in this book that whenever other people in high editorial positions are mentioned, the majority of them are male.

Also in the mUmBRELLA video, Deborah Thomas the General Manager of media, public affairs and brand development at ACP magazines, commented that many boards were an old boys network “bringing their mates in," - could this notion of men bringing their friends along with them be the case in newspapers?

Are women not suited to being editors of large daily newspapers? Should they just be left to their devises as editor's of glossy magazines and community papers?

Over the past few months, while the newspapers were getting excited about Julia Gillard becoming our first female Prime Minister, perhaps they should have been focusing on the fact that it appears there are no women as editors of daily newspapers (I am leaving Sunday editions of newspapers out of the topic).
I really feel that I should make it my goal to be a female editor of an Australian daily newspaper.

To be completely honest, I am not experienced enough to give my full opinion on why men seem to be so dominant as editors? Can anyone shed some light on their opinion on why it seems to be all men?

Does anyone know of any females who have been editors of daily newspapers? I can't seem to find any.

As the circulation of newspapers declines, could a womens touch be the answer...

Sarah's column: An open letter to the Community Newspapers around Australia



For this week's column, I thought I would take a bit of cheeky view on things and write about something that has been bothering me for a long time. Looking forward to your thoughts on it...

Dear Community Newspapers of Australia,

It is with much regret to tell you that there has been a word thrown around to describe you in recent times that may come as a shock. That word is BORING. 

This angers me because you have so much potential as you drop into letterboxes for free all around Australia every week. 

Okay so I am 22, what do I know? Basically nothing. However, my fresh eyes see things with a new view of the world and so I am going to voice my opinion. 

I am sick of picking up a community newspaper feeling like it was designed for an old person with a smiling photo of senior on the front. Or some tacky old politican on some attention-seeking antic. 

You are not just a voice for the people ranting about fluoride in the water in the Letters to Editor section.

And your photo quality! Now, I understand that many community newspapers have to multi-skill their journalists to take photos as well, which is fantastic, but could we please have something a little more creative than people standing there like stunned mullets with their arms crossed? People are far more interesting than that. 

I feel like there is this stigma surrounding community newspapers that they feel this need to be boring, dorky and drab just because you are a 'community newspaper'. You all conform to the same unofficial  rules around Australia. You all have a similar layout on the front page and nothing much changes on the inside in terms of content or advertisements. 

Long, draining articles are not appealing anymore. I want to read about things that are entertaining, fun little features, odd spots, interesting photos, fascinating articles, what's going on a little outside the community too, what the local venues are doing for young people (not just the happenings at the RSL), what is cool on the internet, maybe a little bit of gossip, maybe a little bit of scandal, pets, cute things about, health feature, more romantic stories (love makes the world go round remember) and some things that are left of center. I'm over it all being about the local netball club winning the premiership - I know is an important happening but it gets to the point where it is Groundhog Day every week the local paper arrives. Spice it up a little bit, maybe get the netballer's to submit 10 of their favourite things in their life on a page or get them to submit drawings of themselves - just something different - be creative.

And I am sick to my eyeballs of politicians doing things for their own political gain and re-reading press releases by their media people that have been slightly changed into articles - it is enough to put a pack of hyperactive monkeys to sleep. Can there just be a designated page in all community newspapers for their rants and raves?

I say all this, my dear friend Community Newspaper because you are still extremely important.

Who else is going to tell me what is going on in my local community? People are always going to want to know what is going on. I won't go out of my way to find out but if I am sitting in a cafe and a local newspaper is in front of me that is available to read, I will pick it up. Local advertisers also rely heavily on you, please pay them the respect back by offered good content that people want to read so your distribution is not a lie, when half the people are flinging their community newspapers from the mailbox straight into the bin. I couldn't think of a personal friend of mine who claims to read their community newspaper and if they did, they would probably be stirred up for it and I'd feel a little embarrassed for them. 

Many of you have vibrant real estate sections that a lot of people like to read or that most people just automatically skip to read. But hey! While they are there, you should give them some bonus entertainment from the content you can provide. 

And what ever happened to making it cool and colourful like a magazine? Why are you so conservative? Why don't you involve more of your local community with photos and reader interaction? Hence the popularity of blogs and social media, reader interaction is something we all love!

I don't want the internet to beat must live on. 

I hope you have not been offended by any of these thoughts. I just had to get it out need to change. 

Kind regards,

Sarah Lawrence

This letter may seem a little harsh and parts of it are over the top. And I may be viewing the world from limited eyes as I have not seen every community newspaper in Australia (and I am sure some are very good but a lot are better off as fuel for fire). So I would love to know from you: What do you think makes your community newspaper good? Do you think my letter is fair or rubbish? 

Events and Opportunities



This post is one of a weekly series, which will share various events and opportunities available in the writing and journalism industry. If you have an event or opportunity that you believe will be beneficial to young people who love to journalism and writing, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Please rest assured that there is no conflict of interest; all of these suggestions are made independently.

Jobs, jobs, jobs
If you are looking for jobs overseas then this website has a good array of jobs, in particular in the UK and the Middle East. Worth a look - you never know what you might find!

South Coast, NSW
Aspiring writers out there will love the sound of this. Imagine spending a relaxing weekend near the beach while immersing yourself in your favourite passion, writing. Dr Clare Manning visits houses on the South Coast NSW to conduct writing workshops. She loves helping people unleash their creative side and have fun with their writing. You can find out more here.

This website is the next best for aspiring journalists and writers after Doorways...we are biased, of course! On a serious note, this website was launched by lecturers and some students in the same year level as myself at university. They have put a huge amount of effort into it and there are many interesting articles to read as well as job opportunities, events and profiles about journalists. 

Interview: Gabby McMillan, Writer


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Gabby McMillan is a force to be reckoned with. Successfully marrying her creative spirit with a lucrative writing and editing career, Gabby currently holds a coveted position as staff writer for Weight Watchers magazine, while dabbling in creative writing in her spare time. Aspiring writers, take note: Gabby is an inspiration for those of us who hope to make writing our full-time vocation. You can follow Gabby's career via her lovely blog, which showcases her eloquent prose and sparkling wit, and her uplifting tweets (@gabbymcmillan). Here is Gabby's delightfully unabridged interview with Doorways.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? Also, please describe your writing trajectory.*
My first piece was published in Pursuit magazine. Seeing my byline in print was spine-tinglingly delightful, so I bragged to friends and flapped copies of the publication in relatives’ faces. Did I mention the piece was a two-sentence book review? And I was in Year 8? And the magazine was about 10 pages long? Still, a girl has to start somewhere.

Fast-forward five years and I ended up knee-deep in a journalism and creative writing degree. Ever the teacher’s pet/gold star student/class geek, I flaunted my writerly wares around Canberra in search of a magazine that would publish an 18-year-old student with no experience (I’d realised my Year 8 byline wasn’t too crash-hot). I began writing for Canberra’s street press title, BMA. It was unbelievable, offering surreal moments like chatting on the phone with Regurgitator in my Ressies room while friends skulled beer bongs in the hallway. By the end of university, I had three years of writing for BMA under my belt – as well as contributions to Lip, Forte, Monitor Online, This Is Writing, All Write and Vive magazine.

After graduation, I nabbed a chief sub-editor job at two Disney tween titles. After two years of subbing features on Zac Efron’s latest haircut, I became the deputy chief sub-editor/health writer at DOLLY (where Zac’s hair still got attention). I also chased freelancing opportunities and was lucky to score commissions from Cosmopolitan and Weight Watchers Online.

A stint as the deputy editor of three parenting titles was a memorable rollercoaster ride. It reminded me of my true passion: writing. So, I moved away from managerial editorial roles in to my current – and more creative – position of Weight Watchers magazine’s staff writer, where I pen stories on everything from nutrition and fitness, to fashion and beauty. Upon seeing my first feature in print, the spine tingles started again.

(The wonderful Australian author Andrew Humphreys, who I was lucky enough to work with, told me successful careers don’t need to be a steep upward climb: they can have many ups and downs. I credit him for bringing me back a notch and encouraging me to do what makes me happy.)

I’m also a passionate creative writer, but I haven’t quite figured out how to balance fulltime magazine writing with working on my short film script, vignettes and novel ideas. I’m sure I’ll master it eventually but until that wonderful day comes, fulltime magazine writing is my priority and creative writing is my playtime.

* I bet you wish you asked for the abridged version. I’ll step off the soap box now, well, in a moment.

What is your writing routine?
It varies. I tend to save a methodical writing routine for my staff writer position – keeping to-do lists, beating deadlines, staying on track etc – while my creative writing is a whirlwind of 6am bursts of inspiration followed by days of nothingness, rounded off with four-hour marathon sessions. (Confession: I can’t write at home without my desk lamp and back pillow but there’s nothing sexy about that, is there?)

What inspires you?
The ridiculous. Walking. Eavesdropping. Fish-out-of-water scenarios. People in my life inspire snippets of stories every day... they just don’t know it yet. I adore meeting new people and finding what makes them tick. Brilliant writing also motivates – and terrifies – me (think: The Book Thief, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, just to name a few).

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
My advice is simple: if you want to be a writer, write. Write, damn it, write. Get that pen out, turn on your laptop, use chalk for all I care – just write.

Now, I know it’s harder than it sounds, so allow me to share my creative writing confession: I often get ahead of myself – daydreaming about book tours and my short list of book cover illustrators – before I’ve even typed a sentence in Microsoft Word. Nuts. My best work is done when I stay in the moment, focusing no further than a chapter or two ahead, occasionally jotting down ideas for the ending. Once my brain drifts in to ‘Gabby accepting the Booker Prize’ dream sequences, I’m doomed. It means I’ve let the story get away from me and I’ve projected myself to the (unrealistic) end without enjoying the experience of writing.

My boyfriend, who also dabbles in creating writing, is patient with my mad-woman tendencies. He reminds me to let ‘Gabby the writer’ get the words down first, then let ‘Gabby the sub-editor’ fix them later. Until those words are down, ‘Gabby the sub-editor’ needs to be far away, caged in a basement if necessary. If I let her hang around for too long, she confuses matters with her ‘Is this sentence tight enough?’ and ‘I don’t think the intro works’ feedback. ‘Gabby the sub-editor’ is fantastic to have around for editing, but she’s a pain in the butt if she pokes her nose in beforehand. So, that’s it: write first, edit later. You can’t edit a blank page, folks.

Last but not least: enjoy what you’re writing. Good ol’ Robert Frost (and my boys from Boston Legal) once said ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader’. Translation: If you’re not feeling it, no one else will. Take pleasure in words – they’re cheeky little buggers. Play with them. Show them a good time. Have fun.

Oh, the Irony (or, Writers Block as a Greek Tragedy)


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I am always a little scared to use the word irony in a sentence. People who know the true meaning of irony seem to get awfully angry – or at least sickeningly patronising – when somebody uses it the wrong way. Poor old Alanis Morissette. So I generally try to avoid it altogether.

Nevertheless, I am feeling a little brave today. Irony, according to the Oxford dictionary, is the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect; a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result; and a literary technique (dramatic or tragic irony), originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. I think my situation falls within the realm of the second definition. Maybe. To be honest, I don’t really know.

Anyway, what I was going to say, and please don’t crucify me if I have this wrong, was that isn’t it ironic that the day I sit down to write a post about the nonexistence of writer’s block, I have writer’s block? Well? Is that the correct usage? Hm. Actually, don't tell me. I'm sensitive like that.

My intended denunciation of writer’s block was inspired, in part, by Phillip Pullman’s damning dismissal of it:

Writer's block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber's block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day?

The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don't want to do it, and you can't think of what to write next, and you're fed up with the whole damn business. Do you think plumbers don't feel like that about their work from time to time? Of course there will be days when the stuff is not flowing freely. What you do then is MAKE IT UP. I like the reply of the composer Shostakovich to a student who complained that he couldn't find a theme for his second movement. “Never mind the theme! Just write the movement!” he said.

Writer's block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren't serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they're not inspired as when they are.

He’s not the only one. Cyrese Covelli says: Writer's block doesn't exist...lack of imagination does. Warren Ellis opines: Writer's block? I've heard of this. This is when a writer cannot write, yes? Then that person isn't a writer anymore. I'm sorry, but the job is getting up in the fucking morning and writing for a living. My favourite tweeter Steve Martin jokes: Writers block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.

Harsh, yes? I think I needed to hear it, though. "Writer's block" evokes the idea of a kind of ailment; one which is out of the writer's control and can only be overcome with time or, as Pullman says icily, inspiration. I think these writers are right when they say that writer's block is an excuse concocted by failing, depleted wordsmiths, whose self-doubts are quelling their creative spirit. Clearly, it is something that needs to be conquered, if I ever want to succeed as a writer.

As superficial as it may seem, however, I suspect that I would feel a whole lot more inspired to write if I were being paid for my troubles. If writing were, as I hope it one day will be, my vocation. Maybe if I were, if not financially compensated, well-regarded. Honestly, I think it would be enough to be instilled with some sort of confidence that I was on the right path. Some assurance that my efforts are not for nothing; that they are leading somewhere worthwhile. 

That is why, I think, aspiring writers tend to be at their best when they are locked inside a little bubble, spurred on by a sudden spark of inspiration that envelopes their being, shielding them from their self-doubts. As much as I write for the love of writing, it often seems fruitless. Which doesn’t make me want to stop writing altogether, but does hinder my completion or commencement of things because, let's face it, it is scary to think that I am expending all my time, energy and passion going about things the wrong way (if there is such a thing). So that is why I continually search for inspiration, trying to look for a sign, attempting to find something unique and brilliant inside of me, which will set me apart from all the rest.

And here I can use the third definition of irony, which is that of a Greek tragedy. I am the character, you are the audience. Reading this, you are all thinking, "So, aspiring writer, here is your problem in a nutshell: You cannot write, because you want to be a writer, and you are not." The solution is, obviously, to write. Argh! 

I think the best advice I have ever received is from Susan Maushart, in an interview I conducted for this blog. Her advice for aspiring writers: Write as if it were a job, not a hobby (or it always will be). There it is: the key. Whenever I feel myself becoming paralysed by writer's block, I should place myself under a delusional spell. Imagining that writing is my job. Imagining that I don't have an exam tomorrow or a shift at work in an hour. Imagining that people are reading my writing. Imagining that I am being paid hundreds of dollars to write a column. And maybe one day, my imaginings will come true.

Rejection... from The Age - Part 1


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Hello readers, thought I would scare you with a little photo of myself and to make a connection with the post below.
Everyone will tell you when applying for jobs: you have to be prepared for rejection.

I have had my fair share of rejection. I've not made the cut for jobs I've applied for at The Geelong AdvertiserQantas MagazineMarketing MagazineThe Adelaide Advertiser, The Echo (Byron Bay), The Herald Sun, Channel 7 and even Cosmopolitan - just to name a few.

Most recently, I received a rejection e-mail for a traineeship at The Age. They were looking for people with both journalism and photographic experience, which I have a lot of (along with a journalism degree and various other experience), so I was hopeful that I would make it to the interview round. I even stretched my contacts far and emailed Caroline Wilson, because my Grandma's hairdresser knows her and said it would be good to get in contact with her. 

Researching some old famous journalists for this blog, I've noticed that many got their good start with a cadetship at The Age, Herald Sun or any other capital city daily newspaper. Knowing that they had received over 400 applications, I rang The Age every second day for two weeks, trying to talk to the HR person so that I could show my interest and beg for an interview. Voice mail seemed to be a common echo as I never actually spoke to the HR person I asked for.

Eventually I spoke to Colin McKinnon, who is the Editor of Training and Development at The Age. He said that, as the email confirming that my resume had been received had said, I would get a response some time in November and we were still in November so I must wait.

Last Thursday the rejection email came through:

"Thank you for your interest and application for the role of Editorial Trainee with The Age. We received many excellent applications. The process of shortlisting and giving each candidate proper consideration is a process that we attach great importance to.

Unfortunately on this occasion your application has not been successful.

We would like to thank you for your interest in Fairfax and take this opportunity to wish you every success in your future career search. Please do not hesitate to apply for any of our future positions that may be of interest to you."

Immediately I felt a rush of motivation (I have a typical left handed person's trait of being quick tempered) that I just must must must call this Colin McKinnon man and try begging for an interview again, ASAP. I really didn't know how to go about this whim and probably went about it the wrong way. When I got through to him I said what first came into my head, something along the lines of how passionate I am for the media, how I've had a lot of experience and love The Age and could I please have an interview even though the rejection email just flew in?

And he said... NO! On this occasion, HR had conducted a thorough examination of the resumes and mine did not make the cut. Try again next time. If I wanted more specific feedback on my resume, call back at the start of December.

So then I tried to tap into my creativity as my mind flew at a million miles per hour. Could I think of a statement right now that could somehow convince him that if I was given an interview, I would prove him wrong? Hmmm... nothing coming to mind. Should I offer to buy him a box of chocolates? He didn't really sound like a chocolate box kind of person. Is there some kind of fantastic lie or truth I can say about myself, like knowing some golden news story information that I could use to trade in for an interview? Hmmm... I am from Essendon but the whole Underbelly scene has been fairly quiet lately and, reality check Sarah, I don't know anything! Do I put on the waterworks and cry? Better not.

Instead, I verbally vomited, "I promise that if I was given an interview and made it to be trainee at The Age, I will be the best trainee you have ever had and work extremely, ridiculously hard and put in huge hours." It was quite possibility one of the worst things I could say as he responded rightly, "Well, yes, I am sure you would but we tend to hear that from a lot of people." He was very right and I felt stupid for saying such a ridiculous thing but I was honestly lost for words.

Does any one else have any ideas of what they think I could have said? Or what they think I should have done?

Nevertheless, what will be will be. Thought I would share that experience with you. There could have been a plenty of reasons why I didn't get an interview. Perhaps more intelligent people applied. Maybe when they went over my resume they psycho-analysed it and thought I wasn't appropriate. There could have been a spelling errors somewhere I didn't know about. Maybe I just wasn't what they were looking for. After all, a piece of paper on a resume is so much different to meeting someone in person - hence why you hear about a lot of CEOs these days tearing up resumes and hiring people based on their instincts. I believe the best thing to do now is just go back to the drawing board and reassess my resume and cover letter, which I will definitely do.

I won't let the rejection bog me down and make me feel terrible. I will get back on my bike and continue to apply for jobs in journalism. Hopefully, time and place will coincide and I will meet a kindred spirit that I will work with in the future.

Part 2 on Rejection will come soon.