Should you bother applying for the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship? Notes from past winners.

Getting a break into journalism has never been easy, but it’s getting harder as newsrooms shrink. Yet more than 3,000 people graduate from journalism degrees each year.

But it’s not impossible. Getting more great young people into television news has long been a key focus for philanthropist and former broadcaster Anita Jacoby. That’s why she partnered with the Walkley Foundation to offer a scholarship that would see an outstanding young journalist do a work placement at Channel Nine for two months, as well as receive mentoring from senior journalists.

Now in its fifth year, the Jacoby Scholarship is open for application and we’d love you to apply. The applications close on April 26, so make sure you apply soon.
We wanted to enable previous winners to speak directly to anyone who is thinking of applying. Here are their thoughts.

“The Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship was my big break into Australian journalism,” says the 2015 winner Annalise Bolt, whom Channel Nine hired after her placement as a news producer in Perth.

“I experienced the ins and outs of some of the country’s best newsrooms and learnt from industry greats just what goes into making an excellent story. There were countless highlights including an away trip with 60 Minutes, producing the Today Show, doing the rounds with Nine News and sitting in on the Walkley judging. The scholarship propelled me beyond student journalism to teach me the mechanics of news and introduce me to the best and brightest in Australian journalism.”

Kirrily Schwarz, one of the joint winners in 2014, found the scholarship similarly transformational.

“The best thing about the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship was the networking opportunity it provided — I’m from a small country town and I had no contacts in Sydney, let alone in the media, and it really helped get my career off the ground.”

Kirrily went on to work as a travel reporter with news.com.au and is now responsible for producing the high-rating Rush Hour column, a wrap of all the stories people should know on their way to work.

The second winner from 2014, Megan Stafford, is off travelling the world at the moment, but will return to journalism a standout candidate for any TV job.

“The benefit of my Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship was a complete transformation of my way of thinking, as old thoughts and ideas were replaced with a true understanding of the news cycle and working as a journalist,” Stafford said. “It propelled me forward in my career as a storyteller; it was the proverbial open door that led me to a hallway of other opportunities.”

One of the most interesting insights for us at the Walkleys was learning how common it is for the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship winners and even our Young Journalist award winners to be stunned when they win. Many weren’t sure they should enter in the first place.

This is true for last year’s Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship Taylor Denny. We can’t fathom why she didn’t think she was equipped to enter. She has gone on to intern at Al Jazeera in Indonesia and is now producing videos for The Australian.

“The best thing about the Jacoby Scholarship was experiencing a breadth of news and current affairs environments while learning from some of the most talented journalists in the industry,” Denny said. “The benefits of my Jacoby Internship was growing as a storyteller and understanding what it takes to tell powerful, meaningful stories.”

One more thing to note. Channel Nine has hired a number of the runners-up for the scholarship. So applying could change your life even if you don’t win.

Don’t let your doubts hold you back. Entries close on April 26, in less than a week! You can apply here. And once you’re on a roll, check out our Young Journo awards for those 28 and under — same deadline.