A life update

What a day – actually scratch that, what a week it has been.

This week was my final week of university for the semester. It was a pretty busy and full on week for me and I started to feel overwhelmed with everything going on, but now that the week is over, I can sit back and write this blog post.

It started out with a very chilled Monday where I planned to finish off my 2500 word assignment due the following day and start the other assignment due on Friday. I managed to finish off the first assignment, sort out the rest of my week and start my second assignment. I also put the final touches to my presentation for my talk at my old high school on Tuesday.

I had a 9am start on Tuesday, so I was out of the house by eight o’clock making my way to my old high school, St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove where I would present two presentations for year 11 students during their ‘Empower’ classes. It was so great to catch up and see all of my teachers, thankfully they all remembered me and they seriously have not changed one bit! It was a bit strange going back to school and seeing everything had changed. Many of the buildings had been knocked down and rebuilt so I must admit I was a little lost. Both groups I spoke to were very nice and interactive, I felt really nervous coming back to talk to them – like there was some sort of pressure because I was an ex-student. As a thank you, the school gave me wine glasses, a bottle of wine and coasters with the school emblem on it, it was really nice of them to do so. I look forward to coming back at the end of the year to speak to year 10 students about their subject selections.

After the presentation I made my way to the city to listen to The Today Show and Huffington Post‘s Lisa Wilkinson talk about the art of storytelling, as an added bonus her husband, Peter FitzSimons was there to speak as well. In my spare time, or when I can I like to go to events like this to learn more about journalism – I’m always looking at ways to improve my skills as a journalist. Both speakers were so inspirational and great to listen to, I’m glad I went.

On Wednesday I had an interview with UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to be the Journalism SPROUTS (Student Promotional Officers of UTS)…you are looking at the new journalism representative for UTS! Looking forward to inspiring and encouraging younger students to study at UTS. Part of my role will be running journalism workshops schools, so in two weeks I will have two workshops on all things journalism to run – I look forward to that. I went to my tutorial after that, it was really cute because our tutor bought in carrot cake, a student bought in tea with hot water and milk and I bought in chocolate. It was a small class, but very cute. The plan was to work on our assignments that was due Friday, but we ended up chatting away and bonding.

By Thursday most of my commitments were over, I had a few errands to run in the morning (I felt like an actual adult) and then headed to my journalism lecture where we listened to a journalist from the ABC, who was also a UTS alumni. I wasn’t planning on attending because I didn’t have anything left to do for that subject and I wanted to work on my final assignment, but I’m glad I did. During the two hour break between the lecture and tutorial I ended up working on my assignment for a bit and went for a chocolate fix with a friend. Our tutorial normally runs for two hours, but within 45 minutes we were dismissed.

Now, I know I should have used that extra time wisely and finish off my assignment that was due today (Friday) 5pm but I was not motivated enough and was very distracted by online shopping. So I ended up having 500+ words left of my 2000 word essay to do.

This morning I bought my laptop to my internship with Sunday Style and finished off my assignment in between transcribing and Pinterest posts and during my lunch break. This week was my third week with them, but to anyones surprise, it was also my final day with them. I was offered something that I couldn’t refuse, which meant I had to part ways with NewsCorp. When I applied for this internship, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

I love hard news, politics and chasing people out of court, this internship was completely different. It was focused on fashion, celebrity and feature stories and thing I wasn’t used to – but boy was I wrong. I really enjoyed my time there, even though it was so sort. I was constantly kept busy, transcribing and doing bits and pieces to help the editorial team and everyone was so nice and friendly. I had this stigma that working in a magazine environment, everyone would be so bitchy and snobby, but interning with Sunday Style was nothing like that.

Thank you so much to the Sunday Style team for having me, you were all so nice to me and willing to show me things and share cake with me! It was a short but very sweet ride and I look forward to hopefully bumping into the team again soon.

What now for me you may ask? Well, I’m off on a new adventure starting next week. I’m very excited and nervous at the same time, but looking forward to a change.

You’ll have to tune back here to find out what I’m up to!

When I grow up I want to be a Journalist

Growing up in a traditional Vietnamese family, becoming a journalist was never really an option.

When I was younger I wanted to be a policewoman, that was the first ever dream job of mine. As I grew up I decided policing wasn’t really my thing and that I wanted to be a teacher.

I stuck with the idea of teaching for a couple of years for many reasons – I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives, being a teacher you had great holidays/breaks and it seemed like a pretty chilled and cool job. But one of the main reasons was because my parents wanted me to be a teacher. Being a doctor or pharmacists was out of the question, so teaching was the next best thing to my parents.

One day I was sitting in front of the TV with my mum folding towels when TV show “Getaway” came on. I was folding a purple towel when I looked over to my mum and said “Mum, that’s what I want to do. I want to be on TV and travel for work.” Mum laughed and said something along the lines of “ha-ha if you can do that, I’ll be very happy for you”. Don’t get me wrong, my mum is very supportive of me, but during that time you never heard of an Asian journalist or presenter. Mum was being realistic.

I’m glad mum said that to me, because that was the trigger that drove me to do journalism. At first I just wanted to prove, not only my parents but the whole extend Nguyen family wrong – that Asians can be journos/presenters. Once my cousin told me I’d have better luck being a prostitute than being a journalist. But now, I love my life. I’m obsessed with News and love where I’m at.

I recently had to little cousins come up to me and say “When I grow up, I want to be a journalist just like you Chi Han.” That melted my heart. I’m so happy and excited that my younger cousins can dream big and think outside of the box and not have people constantly being negative about it.

My advice to you kids, dream big – that’s the only way you’ll ever be happy!



Back to where it all started

I’ve been a little quiet lately here on my blog, a lot has happened in the last few weeks. I’ve been constantly busy with stuff, and whenever I’ve had time to myself, I’ve managed to finish some projects that have been sitting on my table for a very long time.

Today I went back to where it all started – where my motivation to find internships, gain practical experience and love for journalism grew, Seven News. For those who don’t know, Seven News was my first ever internship/work experience. I’m back here for another week.

It’s been over a year since I was last a there and to be honest, I think I was a little bit too overly keen. This time round I made sure I was a little more calm. I’d like to think that in the past year or so I’ve matured a little bit, I feel like I have.

I came to this internship with a positive attitude, like I do with all my internships. I always have an open mind and always willing to learn ( I love learning new stuff, especially industry related). But with this one, I made sure I also came with more maturity.

To my surprised, a lot of the people I worked with last time remembered me and some who I briefly met recognised my face from when I was there or seeing me in the field when I was interning for a different organisation. It’s such a great and warm feeling.

I got to work with a really great cameraman today, his name’s Frank. I had met I’m before but he doesn’t remember me. He was great, giving me tips and advice on what to do, what to wear and how to succeed in this very competitive industry.

I worked with two journalist today. For one I went out to two press conferences, one with Premier Mike Baird and the other with opposition leader, Luke Foley about a $200 million make over for Circular Quay. It was such a beautiful day to be out. I also met another intern who’s interning for Network 10. While I was there, the 10 journo recognised me from interning with Studio 10 and said I was a traitor (in a joking way of course).

It really is great to be recognised, and I guess that’s what the industry is about, it’s who you know and who knows you.

My other story I went out on was about a soccer brawl that left a teenager in hospital with a  broken jaw. We camped out at the hospital for a bit, where the journalist did a PTC and then traveled to Granville police station to record the VO and also do the live cross at 6PM.

I learnt a lot of technical terms today, and a lot of names. For those who know me, I’m really bad at remembering names, but I’m at at remembering faces. I really need to improve on it.

Everyone is so warm, welcoming, accommodating and willing to teach and give advice, which is what I consider the best thing. I’m always looking to learn new things and find different ways to tackle a situation.

I will be posting daily during my week here at Seven News. I’m very grateful for what I’ve got, so thankful for all my internships.

Persistence, Twitter, Passion and LOTS of E-Mails

People are constantly asking me “how have you had so much experience and yet are so young”.

These experiences everyone’s talking about are the internships and other things that I have completed. – I’d like to also add and this may make me sound a little up myself, but I’m very proud and impressed with everything I’ve achieved in the last two years since I’ve left high school.

Here’s a list of things I’ve completed/completing – so far: Internship with Seven News Sydney, Oceania Correspondent for The Global Panorama, Internship in Canberra’s Press Gallery for 2GB Radio, Published in the Daily Telegraph, Internship with News Corps’ Macarthur Chronicle, Network Ten’s Studio 10 Intern and Production Assistant for C91.3.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve done a lot, don’t get me wrong, what amazing things I’ve done, but I would love to do more and put what I’ve learnt in my lectures and tutorials to the test.

Once I set my mind on something, I won’t stop until I get there. I plan to gain as much experience as I can before I enter the big world of the work force, that way, I’ll look more employable to my future/potential bosses, develop new skills, network and most importantly get my name out there.

Whenever people ask me about my so called “success”, I tell them comes down to four important things for me and they all relate to each other.

Persistence, Twitter, Passion and LOTS of E-Mails.

PERSISTENCE: A very wise man once told me that persistence is the key to getting what you want, and boy was he right. Ever since this wise man told me the importance of being persistent I haven’t stopped. I’m the type of person who will hassle you until you give me what I want. I’ll send a person an email weekly about an internship request until they reply. I mean, why not? The worse that could happen is they say no. What’s so bad about that? You’re still in the same position as you were in the first place. Be persistent, otherwise you’re not going to get anywhere.

TWITTER: Twitter was the place for where I got my first ever internship. My first internship was with Seven News. I like to keep my Twitter pretty professional, so I follow a lot of news organisations and journalists. Some of the times, these news organisations and journalist would follow me back. I used this to my advantage, I direct messaged a journalist from Seven News and from there I got my first internship. Twitter is also the best place to get your name out there, people can see you and what you’re up to. It’s great for me because I can share what I’ve written and experienced. Getting your name out there to me is so important.

PASSION: You need to be passionate, love and care about what you’re doing, otherwise there’s no point. Always pick something you’re passionate about, don’t let anyone [parents, friends] tell you what your career should be. I should know, I come from a stereotypical asian family whose parents expected my sister and I to become doctors. But thankfully we didn’t, otherwise I’d be really depressed and hate my parents. The reason I’m so motivated to find and gain experience is because I LOVE what I’m doing.

E-MAILS: Emails, the best thing ever. Emails have allowed me to send my resume and keep in contact with potential employers. Like I was saying about being persistence, just keep sending them, it just shows how much you want this job/internship. If you just sit on your butt and wonder after three weeks why you haven’t received an email back, I personally think you’re an idiot. These employers probably receive thousands of emails each day, of those thousands, about 50 might be from students looking to gain practical experience. You need to find a way to stand out, not by using bright colours but by being persistent. They’ll recognise your email address and realise you REALLY want this compared to the other 49. Man I love emails.

It’s funny, because as I’m writing this post I just received an email about a potential internship. The person who emailed back said “thanks for the follow up email”.

I really hope these four things help you as much as they have helped me. I’m having so much fun as a student journalist and as an intern for any organisation that will have me.


“Why is your life so glamorous?”

Today I was asked, “why is your life so glamorous?” not just once, but twice, from completely different people.

Now, A very wise man informed me long before today’s encounter that people will assume that having a life in media/communication is glamorous.

Sure, I’m having the time of my life as a student journalist and as a media intern for any organisation that will have me. It’s not because it’s ‘glamourous’, it’s because I really enjoy and love what I am doing. I’ve completed about six internships so far and i’ve had to do the proper intern stuff: coffee and lunch runs, mail pick up, when I was a fashion PR intern I had to iron clothes. As an intern, you pretty much do all the jobs paid people don’t want to do.

I’d like to point out, I make my life glamorous.

Think about it. I’m not going to show the world via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that I iron peoples clothes or pick up mail. I’m going to send you snaps of me right up close to a celebrity or playing with puppies and all the freebies I get.

I had to work with puppies for a story. What I shared on my social media accounts: Me playing with cute 12 week old puppies. What I didn’t share: A puppy peed on me, and I also stepped on dog poo.

I guess people are right to assume that my life is ‘glamorous’, I mean that’s what I want you all to see. But really, it’s part of the job, the puppies and the poo.

For those who know me, you’ll know I’m a big believer in starting from the bottom and making your way to the top through hard work and dedication. I love doing ALL the intern stuff, from the coffee runs and to the freebies.

It’s part of the intern life.

I must admit, I’ve been fortunate to have had internships where I have been published and gained practical experience, putting what i’ve learnt in my lectures and tutorials to use. But I also remember getting extremely excited about having to do my first coffee run – in all the Hollywood movies, that’s what interns do. So being able to live like what I watched growing up is pretty exiting to me.

I strongly believe working hard, being persistent and loving what you do will get you far in life.

Hello Canberra!

When you think of Canberra you think, empty, cold and who the bloody hell goes to Canberra?.

Well I can let you know, it is very very cold here, but empty? nope you’re wrong about that. It’s as busy as any other city.

As you all know, this week i’m 2GB’s work experience kid in Canberra’s Press Gallery, but they call me the “intern”.

I had a late start this morning, 9 am. When I got there I had to get checked in and my pass…how cool is that? I have my very own pass! The actual press gallery is huge. I didn’t realise how big it was and it was not what I expected.

I went to a few press conferences today, and it was really exciting for me. Just watching how the journalist work and how they come up with questions on the spot is just amazing.

Steph who is looking after me taught me a few things with the program they use called NewsBoss, which I have never heard of. I’m really disappointed that uni doesn’t teach you things like this. I think it’s really important considering you’ll be using your whole career, and sure each company uses different things, but getting a gist of something similar would be so helpful.

I also got to write up a little piece from a media release, Steph also should me how 2GB works and what to type out and what not to do.

I’m still trying to get my head around everything, especially names. My goodness, i’ve met way too many people today, lots of hand shaking and meeting a lot of ministers.

I’ve also learnt today that I need to learn who the ministers, backbenchers and everyone. It’s been a little laid back but really full on day.

It’s been an educational day, nerve-racking but very fun and exciting for me.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow where I start at 7.30 and will be pretty much chasing for comments first thing! But looking forward to it.

Internship: Day five

Guys!!!! I have amazing news (for me). But you’ll have to read this post to find out what it is!

Today was my official last day with The Macarthur Chronicle Newspaper. What an amazing week it has been. I know i’ve said it before, but i’ll say it again, one day working in the newsroom was so much better than a whole semester combined!

I’ve learnt so much while working with the Chronicle. Such an amazing team, I am so grateful they let me in. Everyone is so nice, so helpful and even though they are very busy, take the time to explain things to me when they can.

If you are a local in the area, don’t throw away your paper, take a look inside. In next weeks edition three of my stories will be published! How exciting is that?!

That would mean I will have a total of four official published works! Not so bad for a first year journalism, second year communications student.

Today was a pretty laid back day. I only had one story to concentrate on, but I had to wait for the person to call through. My morning consisted of me finding numbers and names for a friend of the editor, I was just helping her out. It was great because I was expanding my research skills.

Working here this week has improved my phone voice. A lot. I’m so much more confident when it comes to talking to people I don’t know or someone I am going to interview. The only thing is, I need to learn how to write faster/ learn short hand. Which I will one day, hopefully soon though.

Today I also completed my first voxpop which was great. I also ran into my first story talent. It was really good to see her and catch up.

ANYWAYS ON TO MY GOOD NEWS. I’ve been allowed an extension on my stay with The Macarthur Chronicle! Two days a week just for the holidays. I am so excited, I’ll be kept busy, and won’t get too lazy during the holiday!

On Sunday I leave for Canberra for my internship with Parliament House’s Press Gallery for 2GB. I’ll try and keep you guys updated, but we shall see!

Then when I come back from there I’m back at work with the Chronicle. So I’m so excited guys!

This week has been amazing and the I am so excited for the next few weeks! I’m loving all this practical experience i’m getting.

P.s. Now that i’ll be working more frequently (for a few weeks) with the Chronicle I won’t be updating daily, hopefully once or twice a week!