Developing local connections and saying yes to opportunities are keys to success for former Swinburne journalism student Brooke Grebert-Craig, now working at the Bass Coast News.
“It got to a point where I was so desperate to be a journalist – I needed to take a chance and move down, even if it meant leaving family and friends,” she says.
Did you always want to be a journalist?
I always wanted to be a journalist, I think, in year 10 is when I really started to think about it. I loved English, I did well in English – so it was definitely a route I wanted to go down.
How have you found the transition to regional Victoria?
It’s been interesting. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster I have to admit. Even this week, for example. I had to drive out to Walhalla, that’s two hours away from Inverloch – which is where I live – for work. That can be a challenge. Because I’m the only reporter based in Gippsland, I’m often sent out to things that are really far away.
So it can be really full-on, and there’s a lot of driving. But you know, you just have to get on with it and get the job done.
Regarding reporting accidents and deaths – do you find it challenging? What was your first time like?
Yes, I’ll always remember it. I think I was only a couple of weeks into the job, I went to my first crash – and two people had died. It was a mother and her son, and it was heart-breaking. It was terrible weather, a really rainy day. I was out in my puffer jacket, because obviously it was a regional road – in Korumburra. I was at the side of the highway and parked my car. It was pouring down with rain, traffic was being diverted and I was the only journalist there at that point.
How did you find developing relationships with police and emergency services?
I have loved developing connections in my area, that’s something that I have found super rewarding. The [police] officers in my area have been really great and welcoming and they normally give me stuff that Victoria Police won’t put out in a press release – the sort of things that your community cares about but the whole of Victoria might not.
In regards to your career or education, is there anything you would do differently?
Honestly, no. I was very conscientious and aware of the industry, as a student. I did four internships, so I was very well prepared. To get a job you need to do internships. I think I would be less hard on myself – because I did put a lot of pressure on myself.
What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone entering journalism?
Be open to opportunities and say yes. Be a yes person.