Since starting her studies at Collarts, Jemma Hollway has never felt more confident. Completing a Diploma of Entertainment Journalism in 2018, Jemma's career growth shines brightest when looking at her industry-recognised work in production, events and writing. Her most recent podcast project, 'Women On Walking Home', was her first piece to be published on The Monthly Hr. Podcast by The Monthly Magazine, a leading independent voice in Australian media.
From creating live visuals for Falls Festival Lorne to coordinating social media and content for A Hitch To The Sticks, Jemma's hard work has cultivated a diverse skill set and the dexterity she hopes to grow in her studies this year, starting a Bachelor of Content Creation. We caught up with Jemma to chat about journalism and the industry she continues to thrive in.
Hi Jemma, thank you so much for chatting with me! I wanted to ask firstly, what does journalism mean to you?
The ability a good story has to change the way a person thinks or feels about something is crazy. It’s almost scary, that as a journalist you can have so much power over perception- but I also think it’s what I find most attractive about it. Ever since I was little I had wanted to pursue a career where I could have an impact, and so to me, journalism is about finding something that matters and making people care about it.
Have you always been drawn to storytelling? What inspired you to study Entertainment Journalism at Collarts?
I have always been a storyteller—even though some would argue that ‘over-sharer’ is probably a better term. I’ve loved writing ever since I was little, but never really considered it as a "real career option" until I discovered a pamphlet at the bottom of my schoolbag during an angsty teenage existential crisis one day a little bit before exams.
I remember everything falling into place as I looked at the little piece of paper—covered in mouldy apple residue—and as a firm believer in universal signs I signed up to attend the Collarts' Open Day and never looked back. I loved how the course was so specific to the type of journalism I would be interested in pursuing, and wouldn’t waste my time forcing me to study things I wasn’t keen on.
"It made me realise how truly fed up I am with the fact that I have lived my whole life feeling like being degraded, overlooked and scared is acceptable—and most importantly, like it’s normal. I made my podcast in an effort to help change this, even if it’s just in the tiniest bit."
You recently shared 'Walk With Us', a short documentary you produced exploring the idea of how women walk home and all the internalised strategies that come with it. It was picked up by The Monthly Podcast, accompanying a similar piece. What inspired you to create such a powerful piece of documentary?
Every so often you hear a story in the news that’s just a complete and total kick in the guts, and the devastating case of Eurydice Dixon is the perfect example. It hit home—not only the fact that she and I were close in age and stature and it could have easily been me walking that night—but also this idea that as women we are conditioned to expect a certain treatment from the society we walk among.
Things I usually would let slide began irritating me. Unwarranted sexual comments from men I worked with, voices tinged with condescending undertones and exchanged sideways glances. It made me realise how truly fed up I am with the fact that I have lived my whole life feeling like being degraded, overlooked and scared is acceptable—and most importantly, like it’s normal. I made my podcast in an effort to help change this, even if it’s just in the tiniest bit.
Jemma working alongside other Entertainment Management, Entertainment Journalism and Content Creation students at A Hitch To the Sticks.
When collecting interviews and sound bites for the piece, how did you go about blending these together into a cohesive piece? Did you seek help from your peers and/or teachers or did it all come together naturally?
It actually came together a lot easier than I expected! I spent a night driving around to a few different houses and grabbing little interviews with friends and family before sitting down to listen and review the content I’d gathered. I realised there was a very strong and consistent theme running throughout all my recordings, and so from there the piece pretty much wrote itself.
I had a pretty good idea in my head of how I wanted the soundscape to be put together—and so that part just came down to finding free sounds online that I could use to create the night-time city scene heard in my piece. I really enjoyed making the podcast and I found it to be very similar to crafting a written piece in the way that once you get in the flow of things it’s smooth sailing from there!
There's definitely confidence in the work that you create. Have you always been confident in your abilities or has that been something that has been nurtured during your time at Collarts?
I actually struggled immensely throughout my time at Collarts in being able to have confidence in myself and my work. Being surrounded by a cohort of insanely talented and brilliant people I found it was easy at times to doubt my abilities and compare myself to everyone else. Although it took me a little while to get to the point I’m at now where I’m finally begging to back myself, it feels great to be able to produce something and be genuinely proud of it. I owe this to my teachers for their support throughout the course, and also having a great group of people around me to nurture and cheer on my career.
"The beauty of going to Collarts is that there are constant opportunities around you all the time, and all you have to is rock up to be a part of them! I found I was most inspired and produced the best work when I was on board things like Falls Festival and A Hitch To The Sticks because I was working in a real industry workplace and learning so much from that."
Jemma (Entertainment Journalism alumni, Content Creation student) and Mel (Content Creation student) creating live visuals and recordings that are projected onto the Falls Festival Lorne stage.
Having worked at Falls Festival, A Hitch To The Sticks and more, what are your goals for 2019 and what kind of work are you wanting to focus on?
I have now finished my Diploma of Entertainment Journalism and am currently preparing to start my Bachelors Degree in Content Creation with Collarts in 2019! I would love to get out there and begin creating all types of content for different events, organisations and bands, and hopefully start my own business in the not too distant future! At the moment I am working on a few promo videos and content for Sass The Patriarchy on the 6th of February, a workshop run by This Way North which focusses on supporting women in the music industry. I’m super excited to be on board such a project, and highly recommend purchasing tickets to attend!
What advice would you give to those wanting to produce high-quality journalism during their studies?
Just put your hand up for everything! The beauty of going to Collarts is that there are constant opportunities around you all the time, and all you have to do is rock up to be a part of them! I found I was most inspired and produced the best work when I was on board things like Falls Festival and A Hitch To The Sticks because I was working in a real industry workplace and learning so much from that.
Utilise your teachers because they genuinely know what’s up and are more than happy to share advice and wisdom with you if you ask nicely enough. While studying is in one way about knuckling down and working hard, if you immerse yourself in the environment around you at Uni you’ll end up naturally producing great work and having fun along the way!