Apr 4, 2014

The new media cadets: older, more experienced, exhausted by the climb

In today's competitive hustle for journalism jobs, you're never too old or too qualified for an entry-level position. Crikey goes behind the scenes on Fairfax's gruelling cadet application process.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Media traineeships, cadetships as they’re sometimes called, aren’t what they used to be. Traditionally a way for young bright things to get started in journalism, they’ve largely morphed into a way for established journalists to, after a gruelling process of elimination, enter the nation’s most prestigious newsrooms. In 2001, seven of eight trainees at The Age celebrated their 21st birthdays in their first year with Fairfax. Now, most trainees are 25 or 26, and have used the intervening years to get well and truly started in the industry.


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9 thoughts on “The new media cadets: older, more experienced, exhausted by the climb

  1. mikeb

    I would love to see some of the older hacks go through that selection process of torture. Makes the navy clearance diver course look like a paddle in the kiddie pool.

  2. Kate

    Great piece, but I’m a bit confused about the $60,000 figure.
    The Fairfax EBA shows third-year cadets get $953.43 per week. Even with leave loading it’s hard to see how the figure gets to $60,000.
    I don’t think the EBA can be signed off if it is less than the award.
    Grade 1 gets $1,024.46 per week.
    Grade 2 gets $1,158.11 per week.
    Sounds like I’m missing something here…
    Any clues as to what?

  3. Mel Campbell

    Wow. $60K. With holidays and sick pay and super. Compared to working freelance for piece rates of $100 per story? No wonder these gigs are so sought-after.

  4. Myriam Robin

    Hi Kate. I’ve been told that Fairfax (and News) cadets/trainees are generally employed as grade 2 (depending on experience). $1158 x 52 gets you around $60k a year. Naturally I can’t speak for certain – I haven’t seen the contracts for this year’s trainees – but can say in the past some have been employed as grade 2.

  5. Guy Francis

    well,i’m just painter that earns around $850 per week at 48,damn i thought young journalists were idealists that lived on food scraps,in future i may upgrade my quotes for that vocation,but well done cadets

  6. Timble

    Yawn… is this sort of bollocks still going on in print journalism after all these years? The rise of the audience has pretty much made this quaint, competitive, exclusive road into the third estate as redundant and meaningless as the poor saps who get dragged down it.

  7. Guy Francis

    wow,’yawn,quaint and redundant’all in one post,you just made the hipster top 10 bro,2 thumbs up

  8. Kevin Herbert

    As a former ABC News cadet who got their start due to my Catholic school background, I can confirm that getting into the news media is all about chance…much like most of life is.

  9. Timble

    When I got my break with the Puffington Host etc (please complete ed)…

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