Brianna Travers, radio producer at 3AW and Herald Sun journalist

Brianna Travers, radio producer at 3AW and journalist at the Herald Sun. Photo by Tahlia Sinclair.
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“At the end of the day you’re telling a story and being competitive, just in a different format.” 3AW radio producer and Herald Sun journalist, Brianna Travers talks with Tahlia Sinclair about moving between media formats.

Why did you choose the media industry?

I always wanted to be a journalist from a very young age. I used to cut out pictures from the newspaper and write my own stories, and I also had my own little radio program. I recorded it with some of my mates, it was called the Groovy Girls Club. We interviewed each other, and did little segments. I was about 10 years old, it was pretty cool. I always loved telling stories and that’s what journalism is.

How long have you been at 3AW?

I walked into a phone job. I managed the switchboard of talkback callers. That kind of role is entry level at any kind of talkback radio station. It’s such a good starter position for anyone who wants to work in radio. I did that for two years but I’ve just got a new job as a producer, 2IC.

What does a radio producer do?

I guess, you’re behind the scenes trying to help as much as you can your host. At the moment, I’m working for Tom Elliot on Drive, so as a producer it’s my role to prepare for the day. I consume the news, find stories, think about the best possible people for interviews, and create a really lively and dynamic program that is exciting to listen to.

How is it switching between media formats?

I like doing two things. radio you’re behind the scenes. You’re kind of working for someone else, as a team. Radio is a brilliant medium because its immediate. There’s nothing like true local radio. The best example is where there are live events in Melbourne, our callers are our eyes and ears. You get these incredible callers detailing these amazing things that you don’t get in other mediums. I love radio for that reason. The strength of working as a print journo is it’s your by-line. It’s all on you at the end of the day. It’s just different. At the end of the day you’re telling a story and being competitive, just in a different format. There’s nothing like seeing your name in print, a byline on a great story that you’ve done is really rewarding.

What is your work-life balance like?

I’ve always been someone always wanting to do heaps. It’s my nature to have it all on my plate. I couldn’t get work for four years so that four years when you’re not doing anything and you know what you want, when you have it you know ‘this is what I want and I will do this’. I was just lucky that I got two jobs at the one time. I couldn’t say no. Just say yes to everything. People get offered to do a double shift, or ‘do you want to produce on the weekend?’ and they say no. Well, okay, how much do you really want this? Do you really want to work in the media, or do you want to do it half-heartedly? Work-life balance I probably need to work on. For now, I really enjoy working at both.

What is your advice for young journalists?

Getting a job in the media industry is just persistence. If you really want it, you’ll get there. I see so many people come in for work experience and they never follow up. They never put in a call to say, ‘hey, I really want to work here’, they don’t do those follow ups and that’s what journalism is all about. You’ve got to do the follow up. Just keeping active and consuming media. I see a lot of young people who want to work in the media industry and they come into a radio station, and you ask them if they listen to radio or want to work in radio. Sometimes the answer isn’t yes. That just blows my mind. Consuming media and watching the best in the business and what they do, trying to consume that and taking that on board is so important. At the end of the day a resume is great, but actually coming into a media outlet and impressing the right people will always be noticed. If you keep knocking on that door people find it hard to say no. Newsrooms are so scant at the moment, we have no employees, it’s not what it used to be. If you stand up and show you’re prepared to do the work, we will take you up on it. It might be for free initially but it’s a great way to get experience and it’s a great way to prove to yourself.

Does cold calling people get easier?

You always face the same struggles. Sourcing numbers is the first thing, getting them to answer the phone is another struggle. Then getting them to speak on your show, they’re the three elements to getting an interview. I remember I used to find cold calling horrifying. It’s horrible. After you work in the media industry for how long it becomes your bread and butter. It gets better.