I know it's cliche to say, but it really is hard to believe another year has flashed by in the blink of an eye.
2018 has, without a doubt, been one of my biggest years yet, but at the same time, the most satisfying. It's been challenging and exhausting, and it's put me under pressure like I've never experienced before, but I wouldn't change a thing. I've learnt so much, and worked with so many amazing people I can't help but be super excited for what 2019 has in store.
But, before we get to that, I thought I'd spend a little bit of time reflecting on the experiences that have made 2018 so special.
This summer marked my fourth season with the Perth Scorchers, and after shooting more than 20 matches for the legendary side, it was time to say goodbye to the WACA, and take on Optus Stadium. The match didn't quite turn out how we hoped, but the experience of shooting at Perth's latest and greatest venue was absolutely incredible.
The double-header day wasn't without the challenges that inevitably come from starting at a new venue, but everything just added to the experience and brought me a sense of confidence that I could still produce high-quality images under testing conditions.
In addition to running Dockside Media, I also work at CBC Fremantle in marketing and communications, alongside an amazing team of exceptionally talented and skilled people. I love it for so many different reasons, but the very nature of schools can be a bit of a trap - every year has the same events at the same time, just with different people, so it's often tempting to just copy what you did last year, and leave it at that.
This year, on our Year 7 students' first day, we made a spur of the moment decision to start producing videos for our social media channels. Without any significant planning, I just went out there and shot everything I could over the day, trying to capture the emotions of the first day of school, and then cut it together as quickly as I could.
I love being thrown in the deep end, so that day was absolutely fantastic and kicked off my biggest year of video production yet.
After the success of our first few videos, we tried something different to celebrate the three winners of CBC Fremantle's Alumni Recognition Awards. Trying to wrangle some of the most popular people at the event, and then putting my videography and interviewing skills to the test was no easy feat, but we came away with a video that I'm pretty happy with, and which I think really captures the spirit of the awards.
This kind of organised chaos became the norm throughout the year, and I've come to love it - the thrill of working under the pump is one of the best feelings in the world, especially when you can come out on top.
After starting to study journalism last year, this year really pushed me outside my comfort zone, with deadlines, interviews and research aplenty. All up, I've had around 50 articles published this year, but it all started with this one - Senator Jordon Steele-John calling for the voting age to be lowered to 16.
Of course, my writing has been published plenty of times before for CBC, both online and in print, but there was something different and really special about seeing my proper piece of journalism put online for anyone to read.
The advice my journalism tutor gave me while I was preparing this article has stuck with me ever since - when you're looking for sources, aim for the top and work your way down. As an unpublished but eager student, I reached out to both WA's electoral commissioner, David Kerslake, and Senator Steele-John, and was fortunate enough to get the chance to speak to each about the issue. I was really surprised, to be perfectly honest, but it taught me to always aim as high as you can, even if you don't think you can reach it.
The very next month I saw my first piece of journalism published in print, in the pages of Curtin University's student magaizne, Grok.
It was a piece about a program called ARTreach that ran in Fremantle earlier in the year, and gave those experiencing homelessness the chance to share their stories through art. While they were busy creating, they were also connecting with a team of experienced social outreach workers, who could help lend a hand.
I had already produced some videos on the program for St Patrick's Community Support Centre, but I hope this article reached a new audience and inspired people to rethink both how they see those experiencing homelessness and the ways we can support those on the margins.
You can check out an online edition of the issue here.
To cap off my third month in a row of growth as a fresh-faced journalist, in June I was paid for my first article as I joined the Startup News team. Over the six months since that first article went live, I've published more than 40 pieces on Perth's ever-growing startup scene and met some really amazing people.
I've spoken to Darren Lomman, who is in the process of creating WA's first PET plastic recycling facility, Dr Jemma Green, who co-founded Power Ledger, which allows individuals and businesses to trade power with each other, and many, many others.
As with everything this year, it's been challenging, and at times very daunting, but always super rewarding. I've learnt how to work to deadlines, cover events like the Duke of York's Pitch@Palace competition, and produce longer profile pieces. It's been absolutely fantastic so far, and I can't wait to tell even more great startup stories in 2019!
July was one of the biggest months of the year at my 'day job', as we set out to produce a video that captured what we are about as a school. It was something completely new to me - producing a video from scratch, rather than just capturing an event - and it took way, way longer than we thought it would.
I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but in a really good way. It was one of the few times I've had the chance to really take my time and, working with outstanding colleagues, craft each element of the video until we were happy with all of it. In an environment where quick turn-around times are everything, this was a really nice break, and taught me the value of just slowing down every once in a while.
August brought yet another journalistic endeavour, as I joined the Noongar Radio breakfast news team. Monday to Friday, at least one of us would be there from 6am to produce and read three bulletins over the morning, bringing listeners the latest news as they started their days.
The deadlines were always super tight, and you'd often be heading into the studio having only read over your script once or twice, but that just added to the experience. It was pretty daunting at first, but with a bit of practice I started to feel comfortable, just focusing solely on the words in front of me.
Having primarily focused on the print and online aspects of journalism previously, it was really good to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely different, no matter how scary it was at first!
September was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting months of the year for me. I officially (and finally) rebranded to Dockside Media, and the very next day got a call from the legendary Scott Hamilton, who was looking for a second shooter for some of his work, including live social media coverage of Fridays and Saturdays at Gloucester Park and Ascot. Of course, I said yes straight away!
As has been a common thread throughout 2018, this was another new, and slightly daunting, opportunity that I decided to throw myself into wholeheartedly. I really don't know much about horse racing, and I haven't done a heap of live social media jobs before, but working with Scott has been absolutely fantastic! You can check out our coverage at Gloucester Park here, and our work at Ascot here.
October took me out on the road, spending a few days camping and hiking through Bindoon for CBC Fremantle. This year was my third time going on the big adventure, and it just gets better and better every time. There's something so freeing about walking around such a beautiful part of the world, even if I was lugging along camera gear and getting covered in ants trying to get the perfect shot.
Adding to the adventure, I was working on a TV news uni assignment at the same time, which meant making dozens of calls from the middle of paddocks and shotlisting off the backs of my cameras to get straight into the edit once I got back.
The trip was physically and mentally exhausting, but I absolutely loved every moment of it, and being able to go on trips like this is just one of the countless reasons why I love my job so much!
November was another very exciting month, largely because the Duke of York was in town! He wasn't just here for a holiday though - he was touring with his Pitch@Palace competition for startups, which I first wrote about here.
Over his visit, I was asked to capture his time at CORE Innovation Hub, where he met with a handful of WA startup founders, learning about their world-changing ideas, and sharing a few laughs too.
The next day it was time for Perth's first crack at Pitch@Palace, held at Murdoch University. I attended the event as a journalist, capturing plenty of images and furiously taking notes to produce a write-up for Startup News here.
There were times over the visit I felt completely out of my depth, but I found yet again the best way to get the job done is to trust my abilities and do the best I could. It's worked every time so far.
After easily my biggest year yet, the little bit of a break I've had over December has been very, very welcome.
Family, friends and my amazing partner, Aary, have all kept me sane in an otherwise crazy year filled with late nights and early starts. It's been so nice this past month to spend more time with all of them, celebrating Christmas and the end of another year.
The pure awesomeness of this past year is entirely because of the incredible people I'm lucky to call my friends, colleagues and clients. There are too many of you to name, but hopefully you all know who you are!
Thanks for an exceptional 2018 everyone, and here's to an even better 2019!