The CMTO partnered with Griffith University Centre for Social and Cultural Research to investigate the impact of community media on creative industries career pathways.
The latest academic findings are published in the Australian Journalism Review, ‘Go join that radio station up there’: The role of Australian community radio in journalism education and training.
“The first thing I say to people when I’m doing journalism training at the university is ‘go and join that radio station up there’, because quite seriously, you won’t get your foot in the door if you want to do media unless you’ve got some experience now, because community radio is the training ground” - Research Participant.
The publication focuses on the career pathways of professional journalists, building on pilot research, Community Media Destinations – Spotlight on Creative Industries.
Academic researchers and community radio practitioners, Dr Heather Anderson; Dr Bridget Backhaus; Dr Charlotte Bedford; and Dr Poppy de Souza, conducted a series of interviews with people who have completed community media training. The research identifies four key themes describing the impact of community radio involvement:
- Career pathways
- Skill development and training
- Connections and networks
- Instilling a sense of social responsibility
Participants with journalism careers all praised their experience in community radio news and current affairs production, describing the sector as a training ground for journalism and vital for a successful broadcasting career. They all agreed their time in community broadcasting developed a broad suite of skills which prepared them for future employment and stressed the value of ‘learning on-the-job’ and ‘learning through doing’.
Participants credited the training they received in the community broadcasting sector for being ‘ahead of the game’, particularly when it came to using digital technologies ahead of other broadcasting sectors.
“It gave me such a great grounding… just always felt that I was way ahead of where I needed to be, because of what I’d been given… in terms of the training and in terms of what I got to do… when I got put into a situation that was challenging or something completely different for me (at their new job), it didn’t phase me because I’d already kind of done that in community radio” - Research Participant.
The research found community broadcasting was perceived to leverage a ‘foot in the door’ for emerging journalists, providing an important space to develop foundational skills and networks.
“I learned how to research. I learned how to write. I learned how to produce… All of those skills were developed in community media” - Research Participant.
The participants discuss community radio networks as central to career progression, crucial for discovering and leveraging new opportunities. They highlight the supportive nature of these relationships, including peers who recommended work opportunities or encouraged them to apply for jobs. All named colleagues who had inspired and supported them throughout their careers and displayed an obvious pride in the achievements of their peers. This focus on social values, support, and solidarity was reflected in each of the interviews, and illustrated by an account of the enduring nature of intersecting community radio and social justice networks throughout a varied career:
“JJJ wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for [community radio station]. And then later on in my career when I, when I held down that show at [another community radio station] for eight years and built an incredible network of people who are still really important in my personal and professional life…..they're the same people, you know, they’re similar people intersecting at that point as they were then. So it is fundamental to who I am. I have a very profound belief in and commitment to community radio” – Research Participant.