Interview: Leonie Marinovich, International Multimedia Journalist

Interview: Leonie Marinovich, international multimedia journalist

March 11, 2021
– Sukanya Nandy

After backing out from a successful career in information technology, Leonie Marinovich started pursuing still photography in 2000. She established herself documenting lives — both ordinary and extraordinary. She has shot and produced films for multinational companies and agencies and went on to embrace the rapid growth in digital photography, managing multidisciplinary projects across Africa. She has shot video and still images for international organisations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Global Fund.

Currently residing in the US, she is working on a documentary project about long-term survivors of HIV both in the US and Africa. She is also a visiting faculty at Atria University, Bengaluru.

Excerpts from an interview with EducationWorld:

What are the aptitudes and skills required for pursuing multimedia journalism as a career?

At the most fundamental level, you have to be curious. Curious about your fellow human beings, your society, your environment, and the way these elements interact with each other. 

In terms of basic skills, you should master your technology. Today it’s no longer acceptable to be only a photographer, only a videographer, or a writer. You have to pursue every opportunity available to you to refine these skills. To sustain a career in this field, you have to stay up to date on developments not only in technology but also in the ways people compile multimedia products and the platforms used to distribute these products.

What professional courses and certifications should an aspiring multimedia journalist pursue?

There are so many interesting and varied fields of journalism that you can pursue. Depending on what your interests are, it’s always good to consider getting a qualification in that field. For instance, if your interests are in the life sciences, a good grounding in that field would probably be the only way that you will be able to establish yourself as a science journalist. 

Some students know early on that they want to pursue a degree in journalism, but others only discover much later that this might be something of interest to them. You can test the waters by trying out short courses in photography or narrative storytelling either before you embark on a more committed route or in parallel to your current course load.

Which are the well-known institutions that offer these courses?

There are many world-class institutions that offer qualifications in journalism, and these vary from university-level degrees to certificate courses. Do your research. Find what works for you, taking into consideration your comfort level and budgetary constraints. Do you want to study full-time or part-time?

What is the long-term career scope for a multimedia journalist?

I wouldn’t limit my answer only to the field of journalism. Our world increasingly relies on visual methods of communicating ideas no matter what your field may be. You will be left behind if you don’t understand how to communicate your ideas to an audience outside your chosen field. Even if you don’t pursue journalism as a career choice, the people who are successful in their careers find a way to share that knowledge with people outside their usual spheres.

How financially fulfilling is multimedia journalism as a full-time profession? 

I can’t give you a straight-forward answer here. There are so many variables, but in my experience, I have found that the more active I was in pursuing new skills the better I was able to win interesting and varied assignments. I have always worked in a freelance capacity so my income has relied on my ability to identify trends early on and then developing the skills required to offer that to my clients. 

Also read: Interview: Greg Marinovich, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist

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