Maria Lewis’ 6 Things They Never Tell You About Being A Journo

So you’re getting ready to dip your toes in the big bad world of journalism? Well, fear not, as writer extraordinaire Maria Lewis is here with the all the insight into this hectic, rewarding industry, as part of Crave’s career kick start series, brought to you by AustralianSuper.

These are the things they never tell you about the day-to-day life as a journo, so jot these down and take your career to the next step!

1. You will become familiar with the term ‘vending machine dinner’.

Because that’s what you will be having. A lot. One hour lunch breaks? Hahahaha you’re cute. No. When you’re on a breaking story you’ll be lucky if you can leave your desk to grab Burger Rings from the vending machine let alone a sandwich from the corner store down the road.

As for finishing on time? Yeah, that’s unlikely. You stay until the story is done and you start getting inventive with your diet: behold, the snack draw!

2. Stories are suddenly everywhere.

The longer you work in a newsroom or on that freelance hustle, the more potential you see in everyday things. Whether that’s something you witness on your walk to the train station or a conversation thread at a party, the possibilities are endless.

3. The odds of you becoming the Lois Lane to someone’s Superman are very small.

Miniscule, even. Sure, you’ll be surrounded by plenty of Clark Kent’s but there just aren’t as many superheroes in need of the skills of a savvy and sassy journalist as there used to be. Ho hum. I guess what I’m saying here, is be in it for yourself, not for anyone else. Sure it feels nice to impress the boss or the cute news photographer, but don’t forget why you got into journalism in the first place, because YOU wanted to.

4. You’ll become the byline collector.

We’ve all seen that 90s crime movie with Angelina Jolie, The Bone Collector? Well, you’ll become the byline collector – seriously. After long hours, endless phone calls, transcribing marathons and blurry-eyed edits you begin to savour the thrill of seeing your own name – your own byline – attached to a story. Whether that story is in print or online, it doesn’t matter.

That sudden boost of adrenaline is enough to make your forget everything that came before it and start itching for that next great yarn so you can get your next fix: your next byline.

5. On your list of great fears, ‘scooped’ suddenly become one of them.

The fear of working on a great story for days, weeks, months – only to have it ‘scooped’ from underneath you by another reporter from a rival organisation who may have caught wind of it too. Scooped. The dreaded word. Never say it in the mirror three times and turn off the night. Never.

6. Shorthand will save your life.

Shorthand becomes simultaneously one of the most useful and useless tools you have in your arsenal. A rather outdated form of note taking in the world of iPhones and digital recorders, it’s also rather great to write secrets about anyone or anything without civilians being able to read them – as long as the recipient can read and write shorthand as well, that is.

Maria Lewis is a Sydney based journalist, producer and author. Find out more about her and her debut novel Who’s Afraid on her website.

If you’re just starting out in your career, a few right moves early on can help set you up for life. For more stories in our AustralianSuper KickStart series head here, or go to AustralianSuper.

This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788. The views and opinions expressed in any article accessed through Crave are those of the author or Crave and not the responsibility of AustralianSuper. For more information, please visit


// ad on openWeb