Critical Reflection: Fishing Monthly Group

My internship at Fishing Monthly Group, which is my current place or work, allowed me to consider how my work there is a good primer for the real world of journalism. The timing of this internship was convenient, because it coincided with the launch of a new publication under the Fishing Monthly Group banner, West Australia Fishing Monthly, and I was there to help prepare the first edition. With the internship requiring me to compile all of my published work, it made me realise how much content I create for the company. I was also able to appreciate the diversity of the content I create, and the multiple platforms it operated on. The internship also allowed me to consider where the company sits in the industry, and how its future is uncertain, given the undeniable changes in effect in the journalism world.

 

Fishing Monthly Group is only a small company, and operates independently, however it puts out multiple publications across a range of platforms, and I have been involved with most of them in my time there as a paid employee, and as an intern. During my internship, the fishing tackle industry had its annual trade show, the Australia Fishing Tackle Association Trade Show, on the Gold Coast. The editorial staff of the four monthly fishing magazines were required to talk to tackle manufacturers, importers and distributers about their new products, and create content to be released in the next edition of the mag. It was a big job, and three days continuously talking to people, taking notes, and finally organising notes about each product into 140-160 word write ups was extremely tiring, however we managed to get the most anticipated products into the September editions of the monthly magazine.

At the show, I also did some interviews in front of a camera for social media about some of the new products, which was exciting for me, because it allowed me to utilise some of the other skills I have learnt at university.

Through this process, I realised that the Fishing Monthly Group office was divided into editorial, design, and sales, with very little overlap – apart from editorial occasionally helping to layout pages of the magazines. Higgins-Dobney & Sussman (2013) argue when discrete news production professionals and functions have been radically integrated, resulting in multitasked news staff forced to provide fast-turnaround for multiple platforms, investigative reporting, the quality of news production, and the utility of local news for the community is weakened. This is very true for the case in Fishing Monthly Group, as they keep their writers and editorial staff confined to that capacity, and they have always kept up a good standard of content. Despite the separation of departments, the constant communication between them helps to sustain a healthy workplace, and streamlines the process of producing magazines each month.

Another part of my role at at Fishing Monthly Group is helping to manage the stream of online content across various social media platforms. The Internet has had a profound impact on journalism, and this impact is still being felt by various publications which, like Fishing Monthly, started out solely as print publications. Deuze & Bardoel (2001) foresaw the effect the Internet would have on the future of journalism when they asserted that the Internet was changing the profession. They argued that the profession was changing in three ways. Firstly, that the Internet has the potential to make the journalist as an intermediary force in democracy superfluous (Bardoel, 1996). Secondly, it offers the media professional a vast array of resources and sheer endless technological possibilities to work with (Quinn, 1998; Pavlik, 1999). Finally, it creates its own type of journalism (Singer, 1998; Deuze, 1999).

With the integration of online material to their output, Fishing Monthly Group has moved away from being just a magazine, and more of a content creator. Eventually, I believe they will be entirely digital, but operating across a number of different medias.

One role that I was given, and found to be particularly enjoyable and beneficial to my journalism career, was testing and reviewing products. I was able to test one product during my internship, and this gave me the opportunity to use the skills I learnt at university to write the review, take the necessary photographs, and lay out the pages on Adobe InDesign.

By and large though, the majority of my work consisted of sub-editing raw articles, proofing, laying out pages on InDesign, and conducting short interviews over the phone, all of which I believe are vital skills for working in a newsroom, particularly when there are deadlines to meet.

As with my last internship at News Corp, I found it beneficial to save the contacts I made, should I need them later in my career.

 

Overall, doing an internship at my current place at work gave me opportunity to consider my role in the company and how it is preparing me for my career as a journalist. It has also made me realise that niche media is a great stepping-stone for any up-and-coming journalists looking to get a foot in the door. While the future for Fishing Monthly Group is uncertain, I believe the company owner, Steve Morgan, is savvy enough to keep putting out quality content and remain a one of Australia’s foremost fishing media outlets.

 

References:

 

Bardoel, J & M, Deuz, 2001. Network Journalism: Converging Competences of Media Professionals and Professionalism. Australian Journalism Review, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 91-103.

 

Bardoel, J.L.H. (1996) `Beyond Journalism: A Profession between Information Society and Civil Society’, European Journal of Communication 11: 283-302.

 

Deuze, M, 1999. Journalism and the Web: an analysis of skills and standards in an online environment. Gazette 61, No. 5, pp. 373-390

 

Higgins-Dobney, CL & G, Sussman, 2013. The growth of TV news, the demise of the journalism profession. Media, Culture & Society, Vol 35, No. 7

 

Pavlik, J. (1999). New media and news: implications for the future of journalism, New Media & Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 54-59

 

Quinn, S, 1998. Newsgathering and the Internet. In: Breen, M. (red.). Journalism: theory and practice. Paddington: Macleay Press: pp. 239-255

 

 

Singer, J, 1998. Online Journalists: Foundations for Research Into Their Changing Roles, The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Vol. 4, No. 1

 

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