I first came across the Morris Journalism Academy in 2011 when I was at a bit of a low point personally and professionally. As someone who’d wanted to write since childhood, I decided it was time to get some proper credentials behind myself and escape the twin hellscapes of retail and call centres in the process.
MJA was immediately accommodating, pairing me with industry veteran Carl Hammerschmidt to be my personal tutor. The assignments were highly relevant, building on my existing knowledge while also helping me expand into new territory. Feedback was always insightful, and my pitching, writing and editing skills all improved drastically as a result of this hands-on experience.
About six months after completing the course I started working at Reader’s Digest, where I garnered a lot of experience across a mix of advertising, copywriting and journalism-based assignments. Without having done the course, I wouldn’t have even got a look-in for the position, let alone stayed there for years. So ultimately, the course helped me achieve what I wanted – a career in writing, something I’d wanted since I was five or six years old.
As with any career, the years since have had their ups and downs; as an industry, journalism in Australia, has changed somewhat over the last few years, but I’ve weathered the storm. Since 2013, I’ve been fortunate enough to work full-time as a writer in one form or another. Today, I’m a journalist with Key Media, and also undertake the occasional freelance commission (under my pen name Tom G. Wolf).
I still have goals for the future, too; ideally I’d like to work as a fiction writer. While the course might not seem like an obvious match for this role, all writing practice is helpful in one form or another. Additionally, the techniques you learn about structuring a robust, cohesive article can often be scaled up to apply to larger stories, whether non-fiction or otherwise. To this end, earlier this year I self-published my first horror novella, “Lost Tunnels”, which can be found on Amazon Kindle.
If you’ve ever thought about writing as a hobby or career, I’d definitely recommend The Professional Freelance Journalism Course. Irrespective of the field you work in further down the line – fiction, non-fiction, journalism, advertising, PR, academia et al, the skills you learn throughout the course can prove extraordinarily useful. I’m incredibly grateful to my time with the MJA, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
Alternatively, you can read some of Tom’s published work:
John Wayne Gacy and the Birth of the Murderabilia Industry
From Galaxy Explorer to Galactic Enforcer: The Evolution of Lego Space
“Talk to No One”: The Continuing Mystery of the Westall UFO
Retrospective: Nile – Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka