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National data-driven journalism project leads to jobs for Bond students

Three Bond University journalism students have secured jobs with News Corp Australia weeks after contributing to a major data journalism investigation published by the media group.

Alexandra Bernard and Eliza Reilly have been employed by the Gold Coast Bulletin while Cloe Read will begin work at The Courier-Mail in Brisbane.

The trio were among Bond journalism students who contributed to the Happiness Project, a series of reports that used Census and other publicly-available data to investigate the geography of advantage and disadvantage in 540 Local Government Areas across Australia.

The reports were published by News Corp mastheads including the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, the Sunday Herald Sun in Melbourne and the Sunday Mail in Adelaide.

Another Bond journalism student, Kate Banville, has been employed by WIN News in Townsville.

Banville won the Investigative Journalism Award at the 2018 Ossie Awards earlier this month for her work with the ABC on the fight for protection visas for Afghan interpreters. The awards are organised by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

Bernard said she had wanted to become a journalist since childhood and wrote for her local newspaper the Quirindi Advocate while in high school.

“To get a job in the industry before I finished university was really exciting, especially when most people are saying there's no jobs in journalism,” she said.

“I love being able to write every day and talk to regular people with interesting stories, but what I admire most about journalism is its ability to make change.”

Reilly said an offhand comment from her mother put her on a path to a career in the media.

“One day when I must have been a particularly infuriating -- or as I like to say, inquisitive child -- my mum turned to me and said, ‘You ask too many questions, you should be a journalist!’

"I am incredibly excited to start work at the Bulletin. Storytelling is my passion -- as is sport -- so the chance to combine them both and learn from some of the best is an amazing opportunity.

"My job interview was quite funny because I had interviewed the editor of the Bulletin a year earlier for the Women in Media Conference. I was sitting there hoping I didn't grill her too much because now she had the chance to get one back.

"I'm very thankful to Bond and all the opportunities I've gotten through the journalism program, like the Women in Media Conference, the chance to go to Japan for the JEMUN conference and add in the fact that lecturers know you personally and where you aspire to be."

The students’ success follows that of journalism Senior Teaching Fellow Caroline Graham who received a prestigious Walkley Award in November for her podcast series Lost in Larrimah which explored the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty, one of 12 residents of the tiny Outback town. Graham received the award alongside Kylie Stevenson and Eric George.

In further recognition of the university’s journalism program, Senior Teaching Fellow Rob Layton won a Silver Award for Best Mobile Short for his film Falling, Not Waving at the Independent Shorts Awards in Los Angeles in November.

Executive Dean of the Society & Design, Professor Derek Carson, said Bond University championed “active and authentic learning opportunities”.

“Consequently, our graduates are as prepared as possible to contribute to the industries and occupations they aspire to when they join Bond,” he said.

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