campaigns—hell, they can even sway you
on what to eat for dinner.
approach is both deluded
and wrong. Basic fact checking would have
refuted many of the heteronormative, white,
elitist opinions expressed in that building
regarding gender and trans people. Basic
commonsense and respect would have
eliminated many of the other scenarios.
These encounters all happened in a
period of two short weeks—I shudder to
think of the other wrongdoings that must
take place throughout an entire year.
Scenarios like this shouldn’t exist. They
shouldn’t be ‘the norm’ or ‘expected’—
especially not for those within the media
industry. They should be fought against,
yelled at, spat on, and changed.
Our journalism lecturers teach us that
one of the most important rules in an
internship is to not question your superiors.
Don’t rock the boat, don’t tell the editors
how to do their job, don’t make a mess, and
don’t cause a fuss. Because of this, it may
not be one my greatest ideas to write an
article critical of the popular institution I
But as an aspiring student journalist it
would be wrong of me to not bring light to
scenarios I believe demean us all.
I’ll never be employed by
that’s not something I mourn. I usually feel
sad when poring over decreasing readerships
and closed mastheads. But any force—
declining revenue, ethical maelstroms, online
competition—that can injure this publication,
should be met with party poppers, streamers and
a piñata of a certain “climate skeptic’s” head.
If Australia’s big mastheads all function
like this then I say bring on their decline.
Rip down the banners that have led to media
exclusivity and elitism. Huzzah to the future
of online, diverse reporting.
Even if it fucks up, at least it’s not as bad
All opinions expressed in this article are
those of the author. They do not reflect those of
or The University of Melbourne.
On the first day of my placement, senior
journalists and the editor of
a piece about an overweight man who was
endeavoring to lose 200kg through hypnosis.
Comments in the news conference included
“Of course he’s fat, look at what he eats” and
“How does someone let that happen?”
On the second day, I overheard a
conversation with a senior journalist
mocking the grief of the friend of a well-
known footballer who had recently passed
away. Similarly, a photographer at the press
conference dismissed my concerns that he
was taking photos of underage people, saying,
“they should be older.” These photos, however,
were not published in the final edit.
On the fifth day, at
The Sunday Hun
news conference, a female journalist bizarrely
insisted that an article debating the benefits
of chocolate should be written by a female: “A
woman needs to say chocolate is good.” She
then went on to say that a science piece should
be cut, commenting, “Women will glaze
over—space and history—you’ll lose half your
readership.” The editor did not disagree.
On the sixth day, a senior journalist sitting
across from me repeatedly made transphobic
comments to a peer who was discussing a
potential story on a trans person with him.
His remarks included, “He? She? It?” “There
has to be a photo of it” and “You should put
the heading—‘My Life As A She-Man!’ or
‘G-Boy.’” No one in the newsroom reacted.
On the seventh day, I was asked to write
a story about pigs being used to test breast
augmentation in a “humorous” tone. I found
the proposition absurd and informed my
superior that I felt the story was essentially
government funded animal cruelty. His
response: “You don’t mind if I buxom bacon
it up? It’s worth is just so we can use the
phrase ‘perky porkers.’” The story did not
end up going to print.
The senior journalist opposite me moved
from transphobia to homophobia on the
eighth day, commenting on a recent piece
on gay marriage. “Why are they [the gay
community] making such a fuss? It’s been
this way for millennia, why change now?”
Although he had a right to state an opinion,
the blatant sense of entitlement and privilege
in the room was palpable. A few minutes
later, he joked to the chief-of-staff about a
recent article on Catholic priests opposed
to gay marriage: “It’s good to have the
Catholics in the news with no pedophilia;
although I guess there’s still sex and gays.”
Throughout the week, I was consistently
subjected to patronising attitudes, being
referred to as ‘Little Bud’, ‘Champ’ and ‘Kidlet.’
Men were also continuously and unnecessarily
sexist, waiting for me to walk through doors
and leave the elevator before them.
If I had had any energy left in my body after
those two weeks, I would have run from the
building when the clock hit 5pm on my last day.
My internship doesn’t leave me wanting to
be a journalist. At the end of every day I left
immense grey building feeling as if all the
life, love and passion in me had been sucked
out, and replaced with mud.
Many of my peers and friends were
unimpressed when I spoke to them of my
experiences throughout the week, ‘What did
you expect?’ they asked, rolling their eyes.
Well, I had fairly low expectations of the
publication going in to the experience, but a
lot lower of the whole industry coming out.
Newspapers aren’t just stories.
They’re not scraps of paper with people’s
opinions scrawled on them. They are a
key component in democracy, in reflecting
and sustaining social commentary and
values. They affect politics, sports, crime,
A few minutes later he joked to
the chief-of-staff about a recent
article on Catholic priests opposed
to gay marriage: “It’s good to have
the Catholics in the news with no
pedophilia; although I guess there’s
still sex and gays.”
The Hun Mole:
Notes From A Tabloid Newsroom
Like many journalism students at Melbourne universities, I participated in an internship as a part of
my degree. Like a few journalism students at Melbourne universities, I had a pretty horrific time. The
corporation I visited for two weeks was a widely read newspaper that shall be henceforth referred to as
The Hun. The internship was supposed to reveal the inner workings of my chosen profession and to inspire
me in my future career path. If this is the case, I may as well kiss my journalism career goodbye.