Features Director, Qantas Magazine/Travel Insider
Master of Arts in Journalism*
*This degree is now called Master of Advanced Journalism.
I was a fashion writer with Hindustan Times, then I worked with The Daily Telegraph as an arts writer, then I worked for food magazines like Good Taste and MasterChef. Somewhere in between I was the chief sub at a design magazine in London (Wallpaper*) and I have been in the travel world for about seven years now. I never planned to write for all these different areas of lifestyle journalist. I just went with the flow. And I hope to do the same in the future.
Akash Arora was already a journalist in India when he decided to move to Australia to study a Masters of Journalism at UTS. A self-described 'dromomaniac', Akash took his professional experience from his home country, combined them with the Australian industry skills he gained at UTS, and has since bounced between here and London, sharing his insatiable passion for travel, adventure, lifestyle, culture - and the occasional celebrity encounter - with his readers.
What’s your current role and what are your areas of interest?
Features Director of Qantas magazine, QantasLink's Spirit magazine and Travel Insider website. Travel is my main area of interest, but I also love food and wine, and wellness.
What’s a typical work day and work week for you?
There's no typical work day or week. We could be on deadline and deskbound one day and reviewing the hottest new hotel in London the next. But, broadly speaking, my main responsibilities include: brainstorming and coming up with themes for each of the issues of Qantas magazine, commissioning freelancers to write features, editing features once they're filed and contributing to the magazine from time to time.
Do you work in print primarily, or do you also work in broadcast/multi-media?
Primarily print, but I dip in and out of our Travel Insider website. I manage the website's hotels section, which means I edit and upload all the hotel reviews.
Did you grow up in India?
What inspired you to come to UTS?
I was working as a reporter in India – for Hindustan Times in Delhi. I learnt all the skills in the newsroom but I felt the urge to solidify those skills through a journalism degree. UTS's journalism program is very well regarded, so I decided to come and study here.
What other areas of journalism do you hope to work in, in the future?
I was a fashion writer with Hindustan Times, then I worked with The Daily Telegraph as an art writer, then I worked for food magazines like Good Taste and MasterChef. Somewhere in between I was the chief sub at a design magazine in London (Wallpaper*) and I have been in the travel world for about seven years new. I never planned to write for all these different areas of lifestyle journalism. I just went with the flow. And I hope to do the same in the future.
You’ve worked as a journalist in India, the UK and Australia. What is the same and what is different working in these three countries? Are there other parts of the world you would like to work in?
The journalism industries in India and the UK are huge – thanks to the sheer scale of their population. Australia – in comparison – is much smaller in terms of number of publications and career possibilities. I would love to work in New York.
What have you published that you are most proud of?
I wrote this comment piece for The Age and SMH in 2009 about racism in Australia. I was defending the country and I'm quite proud of it.
What’s next for you in your career?
I'm going to stick with my plan – to go with the flow. Currently, I'm quite happy where I am.
Has your masters degree increased your career opportunities?
Absolutely. A journalism degree – particularly masters – carries a lot of weight on your CV.
You were already a pro when you undertook the UTS journalism masters. What was your experience of the practical/industry elements of the course?
I found them valuable. It's one thing to learn the tools of journalism in a newsroom, but completely different to solidify them as part of a degree. It's like growing up learning English, but then you go to an English lecture where you learn the rules of grammar and tenses the proper way. It's a second coating, which truly solidifies your skills.
What advice would you give to other international students thinking of studying postgraduate Journalism?
It's a great idea. Go for it. Make sure that you really apply yourself to the demands of your course – you only get one shot at each subject / module. Give it your best shot and aim for high distinctions. The grades you end up with will be on your CV – at least for the first few years after you graduate. If they're not, prospective employers can actually ask you for your grades. It's good when you can say: "High distinction."
Any advice for future or current students from India?
Same as above.
What was the best part of your experience studying journalism at UTS? What was the most challenging?
The best part: It wasn't as intense as studying in India, where the curriculum is extremely demanding and the competition between students extremely fierce. Most challenging: To go back to being a student after being a professional writer for a newspaper.
What advice would you give to all current students (domestic and international) and new graduates of journalism?
Quality journalism – particularly in the print world – is an endangered entity. Digital and social media is producing a lot of fake news and low-quality articles. It is therefore crucial in these times – at more than any other time in history – to aim for quality, no matter what aspect of journalism you're studying: writing, editing, etc. That's the only way you'll stand out in a crowd.
Find out more about the Master of Advanced Journalism at UTS.