Robbie Smyth is a long-established member of Griffith’s Journalism and Media lecturing staff and has acted as the faculty’s Deputy Head since 1996. A former journalist, Robbie knows his stuff when it comes to this fast-paced, ever-changing industry. Here he tells us a little more about his career.
How did your journalism career begin?
I started out as a temporary technical author for a British software company that had opened an Irish office. Then I got a job then as a proofreader in a weekly paper, and after a few months, they let me write a report of a meeting. I found that reading other peoples’ articles each week as part of the proofing process was a great way to learn.
Did you always want to work in journalism?
I genuinely didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I was in school or the first years in university. There was a prolonged recession and a lot of my friends were emigrating, so any job was considered a win! I liked the idea of writing but I was pretty terrible at it, totally woeful actually – so use me as a benchmark if you’re still not sure what direction you want your career to go in.
Tell us about some of your most interesting projects.
I got to interview former British Labour Party minister and writer Tony Benn in the mid-1990s. This last year, I have been working on a book, which has been a challenge, but it's exciting to create something from start to finish.
What would you say to someone considering a career in journalism?
Read, watch and listen to everything. You need to immerse yourself in the area. Consider writing a few notes on what you have seen, read or heard. Make this a daily habit and you will be amazed at how transformative this can be.
What’s your favourite style of journalism and why?
I really like short news reports; it's a skill to write them well and accurately. Then sometimes you come across a long-form investigative journalistic piece or a documentary that gets you thinking from a new angle.
Do you have any interests or hobbies outside journalism?
The normal boring stuff you don’t want to bother people with. I do try and read more. It is important to use your free time well and not veg out on the couch.
What do you think makes journalism at Griffith College different?
In addition to learning practical skills, students gain an understanding of the broader societal aspects that affect their work. Media products are borne out of society. You learn where to point the camera and microphone here, as well as developing great professional skills.
What is your advice to prospective students?
Start reading, watching and listening now, especially new stuff you know little about. Make it a daily habit.