Interviewing elite athletes, writing news articles, editing the work of other writers, adhering to publication deadlines, managing social media accounts and being retweeted by Aussie rugby champions Charlotte Caslick and Alicia Lucas (née Quirk) are just some of the highlights of Deakin journalism student Brielle Quigley’s internship with Siren Sport, a collective of Australian women’s sport advocates and content creators.
‘Interning with Siren has given me so many different practical skills and opportunities, and opened me up to a whole series of real-world applications for my journalism degree,’ Brielle says.
Internships for communication degrees
Through Deakin’s partnership with Siren, students studying journalism and communications degrees are connected with industry and given the opportunity to take their lessons from the classroom into their career.
During the 100-hour program, interns develop skills in interviewing, writing and editing, web production and CMS management, social media and marketing. Crucially, the budding journalists begin building a network of industry contacts and a portfolio of work to add to their resume.
It’s this practical approach to work-integrated learning that ensures Deakin’s journalism and communication students hit the ground running after graduation. And with women significantly underrepresented in sports media, Deakin’s partnership with Siren also equips the female sports journalists of the future with the skills to help redress a significant gender imbalance that sees coverage of women’s sport in Australia rarely rise above 10% of total sports coverage.
‘The purpose of Siren is to amplify the stories of women's sport and women in sport, celebrate diverse voices and support other people who want to work in sports media by providing opportunities in a highly collaborative and supportive environment,’ says Siren co-founder Dr Kasey Symons.
‘Many of us at Siren had a lot of challenges when we were first starting out in the industry because we didn't know the right people to reach out to and we didn't have the support we needed. We want to make sure other women don't have to go through that.’
Deakin x Siren Sport
Deakin University, in partnership with Siren Sport, is developing opportunities for women in sports media through their internship program.
Increasing coverage of women’s sport
Brielle says her internship transformed her approach to sports journalism and fuelled a desire to increase coverage of women’s sport. Not to mention giving her bucketloads of confidence and practical journalism experience.
‘Sports journalism is not necessarily something I would have considered before this internship,’ she says. ‘We can feel shut out by the boys club that has permeated the sports industry – but that shouldn't be the case. The more women that are around to report on these stories, the more women’s sports we can shift into the spotlight. We can really work together to bring women's sport into the mainstream.’
Indeed, Brielle says her favourite piece of sport content penned during her internship – a story about the Women's Australian Rugby Sevens team’s gold medal win at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – actually inspired her to get back to playing sport herself!
‘It really opened my eyes to the world of women's sport and the trials and tribulations of our female athletes,’ she says. ‘It really made me reconnect with sport in a way that I hadn't thought was going to happen for me in adult life.’
From passion to skills and experience
Students studying a journalism or communications degree can apply for an internship with Siren. Importantly, passion and interest matter more than skill level and previous experience – or whether you’re literate in the lingo of every popular sport.
‘We're not looking for your experience or what you've already achieved,’ Dr Symons says. ‘We know that sometimes this is a really huge barrier for women who might want to apply for things that they think they don't yet have enough experience for. Our role is to give you the experience. We want to provide the skillsets you need.’
Brielle says applying for an internship with Siren is one of the best decisions she’s made. ‘I was apprehensive at first, as I was worried I didn't know enough about sport – especially women's sport – and felt that maybe I was a bit of an imposter,’ she says.
‘But what I've learned from the women who mentored me at Siren is those things are not true – you are often much more capable than you believe.’
Want to pursue a career in sports journalism? Explore Deakin’s communication courses.