Student profile: Bec Zajac

Over the next few months, we’re profiling Master of Journalism students and alumni who are doing interesting things. First up is student Bec Zajac.

Bec Zajac

Ben Jazac recently gained a fulltime, ongoing role as a producer on RN Afternoons, a relatively new national program that runs from 1.00-3.00PM on Radio National. She spoke with us about what the job entails.

So tell us about the show.

The show regularly features interview segments on news, politics, science, culture, arts, food, the environment and a whole host of other interesting topics! It’s hosted by Michael Mackenzie.

What does a radio producer do, exactly?

I pitch ideas for segments, find good guests, set up interviews, write scripts for Michael and monitor interviews in the studio as they go to air.

What excites you most about the role?

I’ve worked casually on similar shows on Radio National. But this is a fulltime, ongoing position, so I’m looking forward to being able to work with a team in a more long-term way. We can really shape the way we want the show to be.

RN Afternoons is quite innovative in the way it mixes music and talk, so I’m excited about experimenting with the format. What I love about producing so far is the collaborative nature of the job. It’ll be great getting to know this new small team.

It sounds like you cover a lot of different topics on the show.

I’m a very curious person, it’s what drew me to journalism to begin with. This show in particular is a great mix of serious analysis and lighter topics. It’s fun to find an interesting topic, think up a new way to approach it, find an expert to talk about it and then ask them everything you want to know. And then, of course, sharing it all with your listeners.

Did you volunteer or do other things while studying the Master of Journalism?

Yes, I’ve spent the past couple of years producing at 3CR Community Radio, and I interned at RN Drive as well.

Have you found that the Master of Journalism prepared you well for your new job?

Well, I wouldn’t be able to do this job without having done the Masters, particularly the work I’ve done with The Citizen. The course has really helped me hone my news-sense, which is pretty essential for producing.

You need to be able to look at a topic and be able to work out how to approach it in a way that’s “newsworthy”, that’s of interest to a broad range of people, and in a way that fits the format of the show or newspaper you’re working for.

The course has also helped me write in a much more concise way. Each brief is about seven minutes so you only get to write a few sentences and a few questions so it’s important to make those words count.

It has also given me practice working to deadlines and the confidence to know that I can do that daily, which is essential for our program.

More information on the Master of Journalism can be found on the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences website.