Developing skills, showing motivation June 2015

Ayla Miller, researching a story at the library.

Volunteering as an unpaid reporter has really paid off for Ayla Miller. After a stint as a volunteer journalist she has now landed a full time role as a writer.

Ayla says she always had a passion for English and writing, so after finishing her degree in Media Studies at Victoria University, she intended on completing further study in Wellington towards a course in journalism.

However, she decided to return home and took up a volunteer position with Volunteering Whangarei as a reporter. She says she realised experience was far more valuable than an expensive course and the job could be quite rewarding.

The position helped her gain experience with writing and interviewing people.
“Actually getting published was a big thing to put on a CV,” Ayla says.
“It helped with getting a job later on”. As part of her position she met with various volunteer organisations and covered events around Whangarei.

Several of her pieces were published online and in the local paper, and she helped draw attention to some of the wonderful community groups and events in Whangarei who need volunteers and helpers. “Meeting people, finding out what everyone’s doing, so many people get up to things that you never would hear about, unless you go out and talk to them,” she says of her time as a volunteer.

Ayla is now a reporter at the Kaipara Lifestyler and covers stories about news and events in the Kaipara community. She says she enjoys her job because she gets to work on positive stories about her community. “When you meet little sub committees of people who have visions and ideas toward improving your town; it’s quite exciting.”

In the future Ayla says she would like to keep writing, and perhaps use it to supplement her love of travelling, and pursue a career in travel writing.

Story by Rachael Machado