Annalise Bolt says the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship jump-started her career

We miss Annalise Bolt, who worked with the Walkleys last year as the 2015 Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship winner. Here Bolt reflects on how her scholarship worked out for her. Entries are now open for the 2017 scholarship: if you’re 26 or under and passionate about TV news, apply by April 26.

One year ago I faced what is a terrifying prospect for any final year journalism student: a looming graduation. I was one of 51,400 students across the country studying media and communications and I could no longer blissfully pretend that my degree alone would somehow wangle me a job.

I’d interned at the Today Show, the Jakarta Post and edited UNSW’s student magazine Blitz, but when I asked my lecturers about finding a job, even they were scratching their heads. I wanted to dive head first into this competitive industry, but like many other students couldn’t find the platform.

Bolt is now a producer at Nine News in Perth.

Bolt is now a producer at Nine News in Perth.

Nabbing the Jacoby-Walkley scholarship seemed like a long shot. Established by one of Australia’s most senior TV producers, Anita Jacoby, and the Walkley Foundation, it’s a three-month paid (yes, paid) internship with Channel Nine and the Walkley Foundation and a short course with the Australian Film and Television School. Becoming one of six national finalists was thrilling. Finding out that I had won was my proudest moment – I couldn’t have dreamed for a better foot in the door.

The Jacoby-Walkley scholarship not only got me the job, but also gave me the practical skills needed to bridge the gap between a university course and the media industry.

I chased crime, followed the plummeting Aussie dollar, attended NRL practice and questioned Bill Shorten. I wrote dad jokes for Karl Stefanovic at the Today Show, went bush in search of Tasmanian devils with Charles Wooley at 60 Minutes and was greeted most mornings at Nine News by a smiling Peter Overton. And I wasn’t just an anonymous intern; I was mentored by producers, reporters, presenters, chiefs of staff, crew and editors across the newsroom and learnt more about news than during my entire time at university.

At the Walkley Foundation I experienced every media nerd’s dream: sitting in on the Walkley judging. Being a fly on the wall in a room full of Australia’s best and most experienced journalists discussing the most important stories of the year was unreal.

As the three months came to an end, I was offered my dream job and at the age of 21, moved to the most isolated city in the world. Working as a producer at Nine News in Perth is an exciting challenge and one that I only could have imagined for myself just one year ago. The Jacoby-Walkley scholarship not only got me the job, but also gave me the practical skills needed to bridge the gap between a university course and the media industry.

Annalise Bolt is at Nine News in Perth. Incidentally, Nine ended up hiring three of the 2015 Jacoby-Walkley finalists, too. Apply for the scholarship today.