Breaking big news stories is just one of Georgia O'Connor-Harding's ambitions. The talented young journalist also wants to strengthen her creativity, continue to develop an all-round set of skills, and work overseas.
Georgia, who studied the Certificate in Media Communications at Ara Institute of Canterbury, is a general reporter for Starmedia in Christchurch. Her job involves covering local issues for the Western News weekly community newspaper, writing the theatre and arts page for the Christchurch Star and contributing to the CTV news bulletin.
She says her studies prepared her well for the role. "It gave me practical experiences and an insightful overview of the journalism industry," she says. "We learnt a variety of skills for what is a multi-media industry today, like interviewing skills, how to film, write articles, voice television stories, take photos and many other things. We covered important topics such as media law, ethics in journalism, media history and multiculturalism. It really illustrates that there is so much more to journalism than just putting together a story."
Georgia's interest in journalism began while she was still at school in Greymouth. "I liked the idea of becoming a journalist because I've always enjoyed meeting new people and getting different perspectives on the world." She adds that she enjoyed studying with like-minded people and getting out into the community, which helped her grow in confidence.
The practical, hands-on learning approach at Ara was one of the main reasons she chose the programme. "I didn't want to be sitting in lectures all day. While there was some theory work, we went on field trips frequently. We covered cool events in the city, made a radio show for Plains FM, created our own websites, visited newsrooms in action and spoke to professionals about their work. It was an exciting course that pushed us out of our comfort zones."
Georgia, who was awarded top student in her class, speaks highly of her tutor. "She was amazing. She was honest but kind and had a great way of engaging our class. She helped me to work to the best of my ability and encouraged me to take up as many opportunities in the industry as possible. There wasn't much she didn't know and she was highly respected by our class."
Georgia includes creating her own radio show and getting her work published in print as highlights of her time at Ara. "I surprised myself with my achievements and it was great to come out of the course having done a lot of work I was proud of."