Lorna Hudson

Freelance Writer and journalist at the Gold Coast Bulletin
Lorna studied a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at Griffith University

About you 

What's your name and job title (if applicable)? What did you study at undergraduate and postgraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now (if applicable)? Are you studying and working at the same time?

I am a freelance writer and editor, but was employed full-time as a journalist at the Gold Coast Bulletin during the time that I was completing my degree. I studied a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree via Griffith University.

Please list the most important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)

I commenced study in February 2016 after graduating high school in November 2015, and graduated in August 2017. I am now employed as a freelance writer.

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and for how long have you occupied it (if applicable)?

It has always been my ambition to be self-employed, so after graduating in August 2017, I left my job at the newspaper to begin working as a freelance writer.

About your course

What made you decide to progress with further study?

Back then, it was my ambition to become a journalist, so a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree seemed the natural progression out of high school. During the last three years of high school, I served as editor of its student newspaper, which reaffirmed my love for the my chosen career path.

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

Before applying to study this degree, I did consider other career pathways, including aviation (cabin crew) and midwifery, but writing and journalism have always been my first loves, which is why I decided to apply to the Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) program. I did consider Bond University's on campus program also, but ultimately chose Griffith as they offered a remote study program that would better align with my full-time work as a journalist.

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

The pre-requisites for the program differed slightly to that of the on-campus program, but required me to have an OP of 15, a Rank of 67 or an ATAR Score of 63.55. I met all of these requirements, and easily received admission to the program. I was also successful in obtaining credit for my first year study.

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

I am no longer studying, but when I was, I'd work at the newspaper from 8am to 5pm daily (sometimes until 7 or 8pm, due to the nature of the journalism industry), then get home and stay up late to meet my study requirements. I was able to undertake extra study and accelerate my studies so I could finish in one year instead of three.

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

Although I did really enjoy the course, I wouldn't necessarily say it was mandatory for other people wanting to pursue a career in journalism. I know many journalists who learned on the job only, and went on to have a successful career in journalism despite not completing traditional academic study.

Pros and cons

What do you love the most about your course?

I thought the course was very enjoyable and interesting, as it offered a long list of electives that you could choose from to tailor the program to your interests and career objectives. For example, I was most interested in feature writing and news journalism, so I undertook units in these areas.

What are the limitations of your course?

Although I enjoyed the degree, there were a lot of mandatory units that didn't seem relevant to the journalism profession - for example, a poetry writing unit and several units on technology (which seemed more suited to an IT major). I would also have liked to have seen more practical assessment items (for example, actually writing stories for critique).

A word to the wise…

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.

I would suggest that they look into different degree programs to find ones that suit their study requirements (for example, full or part time study, online or on campus) and ideal career path (for example, specific units or majors being offered). I'd also like to stress that time management is paramount, as when you get behind, it seems to have a knock-on snowball effect. By staying on top of your workload, it is easy to get through the set work. Consider finding a practical placement or internship, as these are just as important, if not more so, than the theoretical/academic component.