Bridget Rollason on being an ABC Journalist

Bridget Rollason
Djadjawurung Land (Maryborough, Victoria)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Writing, Journalism, Television

Growing up rural helped land the job

Hailing from Maryborough, Bridget is now a reporter for ABC News covering Ballarat and south-west Victoria. She joined ABC in 2017 after working in commercial television. She tweets from @bridgerollo.

Moving Away to Study

I had to move from Maryborough to Melbourne to complete my studies, putting me two hours from home. It was pretty daunting at first, and it was very expensive to live on campus. I went not knowing anyone, but it was the best decision I ever made.

While I was at Uni I was constantly told of the bleak job prospects of journalists, especially in TV, but I stuck to it and completed as many internships as I could to make myself more employable. I took advantage of the fact I came from a regional town and went back and volunteered with the ABC in Ballarat and WIN Television during my holidays, where there was less competition than in Melbourne. That definitely helped me get my first job! Once I finished my degree I applied for five or so jobs, before I landed my first gig as a journalist at PRIME7 in Ballarat.

A lot of my friends from uni struggled to get jobs, because they weren’t prepared to move to regional areas, but I knew it would be a good stepping stone to get me where I wanted to go. After a year in Ballarat, the company moved my job to Canberra. I didn’t want to go, it was so far away from home. But I did it, I got some amazing experience, and I was mentored by a lot of great people, including Natalie Forrest who is the PRIME7 Network presenter in Canberra.

Thankfully, I was only in Canberra for six months, which allowed me to take on my next job as a TV reporter in Albury – a lot closer to home! It was definitely my experiences that landed me my first job in Ballarat, and that allowed me to move up the ranks.

Rural Communities: A Valauble Asset 

In my community, like most regional towns, everyone knows everyone. In my job you have to be a pretty good communicator and I think coming from a rural area has really helped me exceed. I’m happy to talk to anyone & everyone, and just having that country, friendly vibe has definitely helped me a lot.

People from my small hometown will see me on TV, and they are so shocked and proud. I love this – it proves you don’t need to have grown up in the city, or come from money, to compete with those who have!

Advice for Landing a Job 

Get as much experience as you can! Use your local contacts to your advantage and volunteer as much as you can- anywhere! The hardest thing for people in the city is to get experience, because there’s so much competition. I honestly don’t think I would’ve landed a job in such a competitive field if I had grown up in a place like Melbourne. I just wouldn’t have been able to get the experience I needed! 

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