James’ journalism career in the fast lane

For James Wong, his drive to succeed has led to a start in his dream profession as an automotive journalist.

James is the main news journalist for CarAdvice.com, and hopes his career lands him in the driver’s seat of luxury vehicles.

Here is his profile…

Name:  James Wong      

Course: Bachelor of Journalism

Faculty/Division: Arts

Dept: School of Media, Film and Journalism

Campus: Caulfield

Year graduated: 2015

Current position: Journalist at CarAdvice.com

What was it like breaking into the industry? Was it more ‘who you know’ than ‘what you know’?

It was a combination of both. The contacts I made during my work placement unit helped me to find the company I work for now. Thanks to the automotive journalism industry being such a niche, everyone basically knows each other and I was able to secure an interview thanks to the recommendation of an industry contact. Now after my first year, it feels like I’ve been working forever, but in a good way!

What is a ‘day in the life’ of your current role?

I am the main news journalist at CarAdvice.com, so most of my day is spent writing up news stories based on releases from car companies or authoritative bodies. I also get to attend launches and drives for new and upcoming cars, which is really cool. This involves a bit of travel – in the last six months I’ve been to Shanghai and Seoul for work trips.

What was a key lesson you learnt at Monash that translated into your workplace?

Something that we were always taught is to be vigilant and hungry, and I think that really helped when it came to succeeding in my role. Showing that I want to be here and enjoy what I do is a key part to making it through both the easy and harder days, and helps to make you stand out.

If you could go back and do your degree again, is there anything you’d change? Subject choice? Time management? Internships?

The main thing I would change is to not be so scared of interviewing people, being confident in yourself and your ability really helps you to look and feel intelligent when you meet people in your respective industry. But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with how far I’ve come and where I’m at now!

What skill (or skills) would you recommend aspiring journos acquire before getting into the industry?

It’s so important to have good people skills, like any job. It’s important to be able to interact with others and work well in a team, even if you spend a lot of time working by yourself. Something that has constantly come up in my own performance appraisals is how well I gel with the rest of the crew, despite the big personalities in the workplace and being the youngest editorial team member by a long shot.

When you were a child, what was your dream job?

Funnily enough, being an automotive journalist was one of my dream jobs. I was such a fan of Top Gear and always read numerous automotive publications as a youngster. And even though I never thought it would ever happen, it did! It was either that or being a professional tennis player.

What is your dream job now?

My dream job now is more of an extension of what I’m already doing. Currently the high-end performance cars and luxury cars are reserved for senior team members, and I can’t wait to one day test drive those cars and make cool videos, because if I didn’t have this job I may have never been able to experience them.

Who do you look up to most in the industry?

Pretty much everyone that has been doing this longer than I have. I think it’s really important to observe your colleagues and other people in the industry, to give yourself an idea of what you want to be known for and how you’re going to get there.

Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow alumni?

I’ve done my best to keep in touch with a few, which has been nice. It’s just hard because a lot of the journalism students I befriended at uni live far away or are now stuck in busy schedules like I am.

Do you follow any sports teams?

As a tennis fanatic I don’t follow any teams so to speak, but Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters are my all-time favourites!

What’s your coffee order?

Skinny latte.