When Ivy Mutuku and Darcy Hodgson began their internships at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) they knew straight away it was a place they wanted to work.
Both students were given the opportunity to complete the internship with the country’s national broadcaster as part of their studies in the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media – Film and Television.
Lead of ABC Victoria’s camera team, Peter Drought, was looking for a way to give students valuable industry experience when Manager and Program Leader of Screen and Media - Film and Television, Franx Ann, approached the ABC and helped to form the collaboration with Swinburne.
“We wanted a program that gave students the largest view and experience of a working newsroom in the smallest amount of time possible,” says Mr Drought.
“The whole experience is an interactive exploration of how a newsroom functions, its key roles and technology from the beginning of a story being commissioned, to its run on the 7pm News.”
Ivy says the hands-on nature of her Swinburne course enabled her to thrive in the internship. “It definitely prepared me for the industry and gave me the skills that I use now in my career.”
Darcy also says Swinburne’s diplomas are very practical, in addition to teaching technical and artistic theory. “You’re thrown into the deep end and given the opportunity to fail,” which helped him to learn from his mistakes and become a hard worker, he says.
Darcy thrived in the practicality of the internship because of the hands-on experiences he had during his diploma
The ABC internship provides students with behind-the-scenes access and experience in all their operations. Students spend time in different departments including camera, editing, news control and the satellite van, before selecting a specific area to spend more time in.
Darcy says it was rewarding to watch his own projects be put to air, as well as watching professionals at work.
“During my week with the studio directing team, there was a major technical problem around 15 minutes before the 7pm news. Although it was a stressful moment (and I very appropriately shrunk back into the background), it was incredible to watch this well-oiled machine fix itself.”
Ivy also enjoyed seeing the results of her work and the opportunity to mingle with staff.
“I got to sit down in the studio as the 7pm show aired and be proud of some of the packages I edited go on air. The whole experience was intimidating, I must admit, at the beginning, but I found myself easing into it really well.”
Another memorable day for Ivy was when Edgar Wright, famous director of movies such as Ant-Man and Baby Driver, featured on ABC’s News Breakfast. “It was the beginning of seeing other celebrities or high-profile people in the entertainment world,” she says.
It was unanticipated for both students to secure jobs at the ABC, despite them keeping in touch and checking for position openings after their internship, says Mr Drought. “It was fortuitous for Ivy and Darcy to be offered roles within the ABC, both had demonstrated attitude and abilities and the roles presented themselves at the right time.”
Darcy now works as a Social Media Producer and Ivy works as a News Exchange Operator, managing all the news distribution.
Ivy is enjoying her role a News Exchange Operator at the ABC
A future of possibilities
After pausing the program in 2020 due to COVID-19, students in the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media – Film and Television will be eligible to complete an internship with the ABC this year.
Mr Drought looks forwards to giving students the practical, real-life experiences that are hard to come by in classroom settings. “Live-to-air commitments make it difficult for students, but where possible, they are given as much hands-on experience as feasible,” he says.
Darcy encourages future students to take advantage of opportunities like this, and is “grateful beyond words and amazed that [he] gets paid to do what [he does]”.
“If you are given something, even if it is very small, you can concentrate all of your energy into making it something big. If you keep at it, all while making yourself available and willing, someone will eventually notice.”