Get in people's faces
by Brenda Rae Kidd
One-time TV3 newsreader, now Target presenter and Newstalk ZB jock, Carly Flynn has fond memories of her time as a journalism student at Wintec. But, what she really wants to talk about is what she can offer graduates entering the field.
And the advice is simple and to the point: work hard, get in peoples' faces and make a name for yourself.
At the young age of 16 and near the end of her 6th Form year of school in Taupo, Flynn enrolled in the Journalism course at Wintec after talking to her godfather, Mike Brockie, a senior producer and journalist at then fledgling TV3. She was the youngster in the class. "I was thrilled to be accepted into Wintec, and even more thrilled that in my first year it was made into a degree, it felt like a legitimate course."
Journalism lecturer, Jeremy Smith, remembers Flynn as focused and committed, that had an interest in broadcasting from the very start. "She had an aim, then she found out what she had to achieve to do it - and then she did it," says Smith.
All very basic, one foot in front of the other, type of advice, but getting the basics right does prove one is worth one's salt. Flynn has very clear, practical advice to journalism graduates about to enter the competitive world of media. "There aren't many jobs in journalism in this country so any experience is good experience.
Although Flynn always intended to work in broadcasting, either on radio or television, her first job was writing for a daily newspaper in south Auckland. "We had no cellphones, no Internet and the computers were archaic. If you wanted to find someone you used the telephone book."
One of her first jobs was to ring every major police station early morning, around 5am. "Morning Sir, its Carly from dah dah dah - anything happen overnight? And that was the way you found out the news. Those skills are still invaluable for me now," says Flynn.
"I look at other people coming through who expect to find everything online and requote or retweet something that may be incorrect. You have to think outside the square when trying to find people and verifying facts. Journalism has changed drastically in the last two years, there have been a lot of job losses - a lot of changes in the way we report things and what sort of programme is on air."
Flynn advises graduates to seek out their passion and find a speciality.
"There's no harm in specialising or becoming an expert or having a particular interest. Say you've got an interest in law, find yourself a niche within that. Work hard, get in people's faces and make a name for yourself," she says.
"I guess you've got to learn to adapt, get as many skills as you can. If it's broadcasting that you're into then maybe as a journalist you should look at how to operate a camera and editing. If you are a one-man band then you're more employable. Prime TV is doing it."
But surely this is doing counterparts out of jobs?
"Not necessarily, there is always going to be a need for quality and you're never going to be exceptional at everything," says Flynn.
Flynn is matter of fact about what drives her.
"Personally, I'm inspired in telling others' stories. There's actually an art to making someone feel at ease in an interview, you have to learn when to interject with questions and when to keep quiet." Flynn alludes - now that she has a family - that the work/life balance is a fine one.
Check out Carly's website carlyflynn.com