In today’s changing media industry, a competitive career demands that you tell stories across a huge range of digital platforms. Getting hands-on experience while you’re studying is essential – as La Trobe University sports journalism graduate Ben Waterworth attests.
Now the AFL Digital Lead at Fox Sports Australia, Ben reflects on how taking extra opportunities through internships and university publications helped him become a writer and commentator for one of the biggest sporting websites in the country.
I couldn’t have asked for a better uni experience. Not only what happened in class, but also the extra opportunities and internships I was afforded. Upstart, La Trobe’ online news publication, helped me develop my writing because I was writing practically every week. I started out as a sports contributor and eventually became Upstart’s editor.
I completed a number of internships, including one that took me overseas. I put my hand up when a company called Infostrada Sports were looking for people to write at the 2009 Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament. By showing that initiative and impressing on the job, a few months later I was offered the chance to cover the Youth Olympics in Singapore along with the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
After graduating, I was offered a job at the Eastern Football League (EFL) – the largest community Aussie Rules league in the country – as their media manager. I worked at the EFL for three years, producing content across all media platforms, managing a large team of volunteers and overseeing all advertising.
There’s no doubt my time at La Trobe helped me learn and develop the many digital media skills I use every day.
I’m currently the AFL Digital Lead Journalist for Fox Sports Australia. Any day can be different – I could be chasing or writing my own stories, editing a colleague’s writing, organising a social media schedule, producing a podcast or blogging games from the office. I also lead a team of six reporters, including two other La Trobe graduates.
I’ve had great opportunities to chase my commentary passion. I call Under 18s, TAC Cup and AFLW for Fox Footy and am part of the Fox WNBL coverage as a play-by-play caller and host.
I encourage aspiring sport journalists to make the most of the opportunities placed in front of them. You make your own luck and impressing in internships can lead to jobs. Even if an opportunity isn’t your ideal, it’s a start – and it could be the perfect foundation for a bigger career down the road.
Want to turn your passion for sport into an exciting career? Check out the Bachelor of Media and Communication at La Trobe University.