Everything old is new again
Reentry to an industry after stepping away can be a revelation: the start of an exciting new phase in your life
My professional life hasn’t followed a standard trajectory.
I did a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce with the idea of getting into the diplomatic corps…but got sidetracked into my creative passion — acting — so auditioned for Drama School…got in…and thought I might go down that path.
I did this until I realised I was only a ‘good’ actor in a world where being good was never going to be enough to make a living from it.
You had to be extraordinary, or at the very least connected, lucky or arsey.
All of the above, actually.
When still an actor, I was reading a really bad short film script I had been sent and began thinking about writing…could I do better than this?
This led me to taking out Diplomas in Professional Editing/Writing, and Screenwriting, which thrust me into the world of words and language.
The landscape I traversed during this time was not unfamiliar: I had always been a big reader, and since a very young age a mad letter and journal writer, so formalising my innate love of writing with some learning made sense.
As I progressed through my Diplomas, work started to come my way and I found myself catching the wave of digital disruption, taking on content editing and creation roles across different industries.
And then BOOM: along came a job in the media.
It was a revelation.
I was in a newsroom, surrounded by all the hectic hubbub that comes with it — a rolling maul of constant activity, even more so today as media outlets the world over try to manage the digital shifting sands underneath them that have made news provision much more difficult and pressurised.
This is the point where I will lose some of you.
Yes, I went to the (not-so) dark side and joined the ‘MSM’ — the legacy media, which draws much ire from those who are disillusioned with it, preferring instead ‘new media’ or social media to source their news from.
I can understand this, to a degree.
Just as with any industry, there are some less-than-perfect players in the media. I won’t use that Trumpian nonsense term starting with ‘f’ but there are definitely media outlets with agendas, selectively churning out ‘their version of the news’ to ensure those agendas get the most shares, likes, retweets etc.
And yes, the pressures of trying to stay afloat on this tsunami of digital disruption has led to nearly all media outlets making mistakes at times or turning more commercial as they look for ways to remain financially viable.
Regardless, I knew immediately that I was in the right place in my role and I thrived in it…until I found myself needing to move states to complete the final units of a Masters degree I was undertaking.
Unfortunately, despite being a digital-forward organisation, my employer would not let me work remotely, so I had to walk away.
This propelled me back into the broader world of digital, where I freelanced as a copywriter and copyeditor.
But the passion to be back in the media bubbled away, nd so when an opportunity to work in Shanghai at a lifestyle-focused media outlet came up, I jumped at it, but not quite fast enough as COVID rolled across the globe and borders came crashing down and I found myself unable to take up the role.
Down, but not out, I kept freelancing, with an eye on reentering the media when the right opportunity came along.
And it did.
Three weeks ago, I started a new role with an established but progressive media outlet. The role speaks to many of my strengths and throws up the challenge of trying to promote and enhance citizen journalism, something I feel strongly about.
Yes, I now work for a legacy (but progressive) media organisation that has chosen not to swim against the tide of change and instead recognise that news and content and ideas and opinion can come from the many, not the few, and still have credibility.
That there seven billion voices out there who deserve to be heard and can be alongside trained journalists.
So, while this new adventure represents my reentry to a profession I know I will be involved with for the rest of my working life, it also presents a new opportunity to reshape what that profession and industry are.
It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.