Broadcasting legend Peter Hitchener’s advice for students

Written by Stephanie Arturi and originally published on the Wise ASSC blog.

ASSC College student Stephanie had the opportunity to sit down over a coffee with popular household name, Peter Hitchener, at the Channel Nine studios in Melbourne. Mr Hitchener’s personal experiences and advice for students is simply inspiring – teaching us that all opportunities are a result of hard work.

Lights, camera action. The clock strikes 6pm and the daily one-hour broadcast of Nine News is about to go live. One of the biggest names in television limbers up for a daily dose of all things Melbourne; but he didn’t get there by pure luck.

Peter Hitchener has sat at the Nine News desk for over 20 years. Some may even say he has reached the peak of the media industry.

But how did he get there?

Mr Hitchener always had a passion for news broadcasting, so he left school to live out his dream career in the media.

“I got into the industry by falling in love with the idea of it at school,” Mr Hitchener said.

“I started but didn’t complete an Arts degree at Queensland University. I got a job working in a newsroom, but then I got a job at 4BH in Brisbane.”

The hands-on experience Mr Hitchener gained in the early days of his career gave him insight into the media world. The skills and knowledge he learned during these experiences were important requirements for journalists starting out at that time.

Aspiring journalists are urged to find similar hands on experience through internship pathways. It is only by doing this that students are able to develop the qualities and attributes crucial to a successful career in the media.

“Get to know how the industry works…being positive, social, friendly and eager to learn. That’s something I think you should be all the time,” he said.

Often, media cadetships are an entry point into paid employment and future opportunities. Large media organisations such as the ABCSBS and AAP offer extremely valuable trainee programs that give students a fabulous opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced journalists in the state.

News cadetships often require graduates to pack their bags and move to rural country areas or sometimes, interstate.

“Be prepared to travel to the country or some regional place miles from anywhere…along the way I have had short stints in various centres and it teaches you a whole heap of new skills,” Mr Hitchener said.

Despite the fantastic opportunities internships and cadetships provide, they are extremely limited in numbers. Major news organisations, like the ABC, only offer up to eight cadetships in total to graduates each year.

So don’t believe that a cadetship position is the only path that leads to your dream career!

Current students in university or looking to start a career in the media are encouraged to undertake hands on experience wherever they can find it.

Self publishing a blog, being involved in community radio or creating a podcast are all simple ways to build a portfolio of your work to impress future employers.

Mr Hitchener believes this is strong advice.

“There are plenty of places to get your product out to an audience. If you are self-publishing, video it and turn it into a production. It adds to your skills but also gives the people you will employ you an opportunity to see how good you are.”

There are lots of creative ways to get experience that can add to your resume, and who knows- you could be the next Wise ASSC blog intern!