The desire to fuse travel with journalism and writing is a strong career aspiration of journalism students studying at the University of Wollongong. Travel journalism is a precarious business to penetrate; there is a surplus of willing journalists and writers, but a scarcity of employers willing to pay for the work. Regardless of the lack of job prospects and the dynamic future of journalism, students continue to aspire towards careers as foreign correspondents, travel writers, language translators, photojournalists or working in NGO’s overseas. The individualistic aspirations of students depict the diverse hybrid nature of contemporary journalism today.
Hannah Hughes, who is studying a Bachelor of Law with Communications and Media, found her passion for travelling through a mixture of influence from her parents’ travel life and her own. After finishing school, Hannah took a gap year travelling and working in America and Europe, which fuelled her desire to continue travelling. However, Hannah’s ultimate aspiration is to become a foreign correspondent. Hannah believes there are benefits of being able to settle in a country instead of continuously travelling; ‘there is an ability, as a foreign correspondent, to immerse yourself in a culture for a longer period of time, which is appealing to me.’ Hannah’s only worry for the future journalism is the professionalism of writing. ‘With everything moving online, I’ve read many online articles which have appalling quality of writing; there is a lack of professionalism.’ Hannah believes it’s hard to say where the future of journalism will go but she’s optimistic about pursuing a career in the industry.
Alternatively, Euan Malcolm, International Studies with Communications and Media, believes there are less job opportunities in journalism today. ‘Everyone dreams of becoming the foreign correspondent for Africa but those jobs are already filled; we have to work in the crappy jobs like tabloid and move up the ladders.’ Euan says his aspirations are constantly changing, however one thing remains… his love of travelling. ‘Travel, it’s not a thing you own, it’s something you experience. It’s all I think about really.’ Euan is discovering languages as another passion. As a French student, Euan believes having languages up your belt is valuable in opening up job opportunities; ‘I’d love to travel and use my language skills to teach or translate; it’s a useful skill.’ Euan also traveled during his gap year to Southeast Asia, which he found added to his desire to study languages and journalism.
Annika Tague, who is studying Journalism and International Studies, aspires to become a travel journalist and writer. Deriving inspiration from travelling through the US and Europe last year, Annika says travelling and experiencing different cultures definitely gave her an interest in writing about history and cultures. Annika has a passion for history, in particular WWII and the Cold War, which she claims came from her travels through Europe. The only worry Annika has for her future in journalism is the ‘competitiveness in the field.’ She feels that her writing won’t be different enough to stand out and find her a ‘permanent position.’
On the other hand, Keegan Taccori is confident he’ll find a back door to achieve his aspiration to travel the world. Keegan aspires to travel while helping others through his work, whether that is writing or working as a photojournalist. ‘The ultimate goal is to be a photographer for Nat Geo, but working for NGO’s overseas in third world countries would be awesome too and more realistic,’ he laughs. As a child, Keegan recalls adventure and fantasy books as sparking his inner traveller, but now as an 18-year-old studying a Bachelor of Communications and Media, the dreams are beginning to take form; ‘In four months, I’m going to be travelling to India to help build a sustainable business that creates job opportunities for the locals and drives money into the community.’
Despite the prospect that job opportunities in travel journalism may be scarce, students remain hopeful, by merging elements of travel and storytelling, to gain opportunities in the dynamic world of journalism.