This scholarship is awarded to students who have a strong interest in rural journalism. As a regional student from the small town of Glenn Innes in northern New South Wales, Kate was a perfect candidate.
Kate is currently in her third year of university studying a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies in Media and Communications.
As well as a financial scholarship, the JB Fairfax Award offered Kate three work experience placements, all of which she undertook last semester.
Firstly, she worked with the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) at the Sydney Royal Easter show, then the newsroom at The Land Newspaper and finally the ABC in their Brisbane newsroom.
“All of the placements were so much fun. Getting up in the morning, even at 5am, felt so easy,” she said.
Kate is grateful for this scholarship considering she had no prior connections to the media industry, particularly as a rural student.
“For someone like me, this scholarship let me get my foot into the door and meet experienced mentors in the industry.”
Since the advent of digital media, Kate has noticed a significant decline of local news in regional towns such as Glenn Innes.
“It’s really sad to see that so many country towns no longer have local news. Journalism is so important in bringing social issues to the public consciousness,” she said.
When Kate was working in a local newsroom for The Land, she was surprised that there was only one writer and one editor. The rest of staff were working remotely from all different parts of the country.
“The digitisation of media and even the cost of delivering physical newspapers has led to a real demise in local reportage.”
With her scholarship, Kate hopes to foreground the voices of rural people who are often underrepresented in mainstream media.
In her future, Kate would love to focus on long-form media content.
“I enjoy when you can actually spend time with the subject and work on a piece over time to get the most out of it,” she said.
Kate is motivated by the authenticity and nuance that a style of genuine engagement fosters.
Kate expressed that the career progression opportunities provided by the University of Sydney and Wesley College enabled her to apply for the scholarship in the first place.
“Moving to Sydney from my rural town allowed me the opportunity to actually apply for and receive the JB Fairfax Scholarship, I think. I’ve met some incredible mentors and have been really nurtured at Wesley,” she said.
Kate is also a Community Leader at Wesley, a role which involves responding to student concerns and providing pastoral support within the college.
This is a demanding commitment which has benefited her interpersonal relationships and problem-solving skills. She believes that immersing herself in the community through this position has facilitated a strong sense of empathy and open-mindedness.
Indirectly, Kate thinks that this role will help her journalistic future as well.
“I think a kind of leadership position like this really relates to journalism, because it is all about telling other people’s stories and amplifying the voice of others. That’s my goal at the end of the day.”
Congratulations to Kate and we look forward to following her career as a Journalist!