Meet Nicole Hegarty, ABC News political reporter and producer based at Parliament House Canberra. Nicole graduated from UniSC in 2017 with a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in journalism and minoring in politics and international relations.
Nicole chose to study at UniSC due to the "breadth of subject matter and ability to specialise in areas of interest, UniSC’s reputation for a high-quality degree with ample practical experience, and the ability to stay close to home."
Her teachers' industry connections led to several student internships, which Nicole said gave her the experience to "jump to the front of the job queue."
"My degree introduced me to the different requirements of each news platform, preparing me for cross-platform reporting for the national broadcaster," she said.
In 2016, in her second year of the degree, Nicole started an internship at ABC News... and never left. In the second week of her internship, she was offered employment, kick-starting a long standing career at the broadcasting corporation.
"Since graduating, I continued to work at ABC News in several roles, starting at ABC Sunshine Coast as a multiplatform news reporter... sourcing, writing, filming and broadcasting news for radio, online and television stories," she said.
While at ABC Sunshine Coast, Nicole put her interest in political reporting to good use, working as a political reporter in the Queensland Parliament Press Gallery. She then moved to ABC Wide Bay to report across TV, radio and online, including "live crosses on breaking news, from federal, state and local elections, to natural disasters, the environment, regional and rural affairs and the economy."
In 2021, she participated in the ABC mentor program, a six-month learning and development experience. Nicole's mentor was Jane Norman, the ABC's national regional affairs reporter, through which Nicole secured a backfill opportunity in the ABC’s Parliament House bureau in Canberra.
"That opened doors to opportunities as a political producer and reporter at Radio National and Q&A," she said.
Nicole's current role as an ABC News political reporter and producer, sees her source and report news from Parliament House Canberra. From live TV and radio crosses on breaking, nationally important stories, to interviewing the nation’s political leaders, Nicole is fulfilling her goal of working as a political reporter and producing "original and unique" stories.
"The skills and knowledge gained through my degree have been consistently useful in my career to date... from editing to formatting, I employ these skills on a daily basis."
"My advice to students is to grab any internship opportunities with both hands and never hesitate to ask questions from the experienced teaching team."
"Find your passion. A degree in communication can lead to so many great and unexpected opportunities, so focus on what gives you energy and drive."
"We live in a world that is constantly changing. With the rapid development of technology, a learn-it-all mindset, rather than a know-it-all, is crucial to being able to adapt. At Microsoft we say you won’t be replaced by AI, but you may be replaced by someone who knows how to use AI. I believe the opportunity ahead will allow people in the field of communication to be more open, creative and intentional in the ways we create content."sion. A degree in communication can lead to so many great and unexpected
Ingrid Dihle came a long way to study at UniSC, travelling to Australia from her native Norway. Fortunately, her degree has taken her far too; to Microsoft, where she works as a partner development manager.
A self-described extrovert, who "loves getting to know new people," Ingrid chose to study a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in public relations and creative writing.
"I’ve always been an extrovert and loved getting to know new people, so communication was very interesting to me, to actually get to study how you can be intentional in the impact you wish to have on others through ways we communicate," she said.
Ingrid said she first chose to study at UniSC after seeing photos of kangaroos on campus, and the University's ideal location between city and beach. It ended up being the perfect choice.
"UniSC allowed me to experience the beauty of Australia, and study at a university where I felt seen in class by my peers and professors... I don’t think I would have experienced the same connections at a bigger university," she said.
"I also noticed there were diverse opportunities at UniSC. It can be scary to decide your whole life’s direction at 19, so I wanted to study somewhere I could also explore other things."
After graduating from UniSC in 2016, Ingrid returned to Norway to start a Master of Social Science and Communication, while also working as a communication advisor for the university and later in the nation's capital, Oslo.
"I’ve always had a passion for human connection, though I realised my strengths were in verbal communication rather than written communication, so I applied for a sales role at Microsoft."
The tech world was completely new to Ingrid, but she said her communication background was truly valuable in her new career.
"In sales, the most important thing is to be able to relate to my customers and talk about technology in a way everyone can understand, from IT personnel to senior executives."
After three years in sales at Microsoft, Ingrid became a partner development manager, working with some of Microsoft's most strategic partners in Norway.
"The range of competencies I acquired at UniSC has been very helpful in having a holistic approach to both developing go-to-market strategies and communicating tech offerings that a wide range of stakeholders can relate to."
Getting a clear message to the right audiences through the right channels at the right time.
Right people. Right message. Right medium. This is the heart of communication, writes UniSC journalism lecturer, Dr Jane Stephens.
"Professional communication – that fertile field inhabited by journalists, copy writers, creative advertisers, strategic communications professionals and public relations and social media officers – is dedicated to the art and science of engaging people, delivering curated information, managing reputations and helping to explain society to itself.
"Of course, the way people communicate is constantly changing and this has opened up an abundance of exciting job opportunities to university communication graduates.
"Communication is the practical expression of a professional skill set, sitting beside other knowledge and giving those who are skilled at it a competitive edge.
"You might have the most extraordinary business idea in the world, but if you can’t effectively communicate what it is, it will never become the raging success it deserves to be. News events won’t be given context. Social media campaigns will fall flat."
"Communication is a discipline that plays well with others. Communication studies never fail to add value to a Law degree, a health qualification and a sports studies ticket.
"Today’s graduates must be delivered into industry ready to work as communication specialists, and these newbies are increasingly in demand in the fast-paced, ever-changing digital landscape. They must be able to edit film, write well and have a strategy ready for delivery.
"Professional communicators are storytellers, entrepreneurs and cultural curators. There has never been a more exciting time in the public space to create, speak, write and show."