How Hamish Macdonald is connecting communities through news

Hamish Macdonald

People like Hamish Macdonald make this world a better place. Committed people who will put it all on the line to tell the stories that really matter. People who give us an inside perspective into some of the most eye-opening, jaw-dropping and heart-warming news from right around the globe.

Charles Sturt University alumni, Hamish has the ability to connect and inspire through his work. A versatile news reporter and presenter, Hamish has delivered ground-breaking news, fronted investigative documentary specials and has become a recognisable face right across Australia as a regular co-presenter on The Project.

Bringing journalistic integrity, determination and pure passion to the Australian media landscape, Hamish is driven by his wish to contemporise the way news is delivered and consumed.

From his humble start at WIN Television in Canberra, through to his current career as International Affairs Correspondent for American network ABC News, Hamish has covered some of the biggest stories of our time.

He continues to live his passion for delivering hard-hitting news and sharing stories with communities throughout the country.

Making his mark through a career in journalism

Hamish’s fast-paced journalism career has seen him report from all corners of the globe, including developing and war-torn nations.

Hamish has put it all on the line for his craft when he was present for the Arab Spring protests, fighting in Afghanistan, and the aftermath of Japan’s devastating 2011 tsunami.

He has shared insight into global affairs and cultural perspectives through interviews with some of the world’s most prominent figures from Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to Jemaah Islamiyah’s Abu Bakar Bashir, the leader of the south-east Asian Islamist group.

“I never dreamed I would do the job I do today and to get a front-row seat watching the world’s biggest news stories unfold.”

There are some complex issues out there in the wide world of news and Hamish wants to make sure young people are able to connect with news that impacts on all our lives.

“I’m motivated by a desire to make big, complicated global news stories relevant and engaging to my own generation.”

Hamish’s journey to Charles Sturt University

Following in the footsteps of his sisters, who also studied communication at Charles Sturt University’s Bathurst campus, Hamish shared what fuelled his passion for journalism, the impact hands-on learning had on his career and his experience as a uni student.

“I grew up watching Four Corners, 60 Minutes and Foreign Correspondent. People like Jana Wendt, Jeff McMullen, Paul Lyneham and Chris Masters were among my favourites. There have been and still are so many great journalists in Australia doing wonderful work.

“I chose Charles Sturt University because my older sisters went there and said it was great, and because most journalists I met recommended Charles Sturt. It offered the best journalism course in Australia back then and still does today.

“My best experience at Charles Sturt was working in the radio newsroom at 2MCE and doing National Radio News. We learnt how to make real radio news programs and to have (probably too much) fun doing it!

“At university I was inspired by my fellow students. I remember being in awe of the people I was studying alongside. They all seemed so smart, creative and dynamic – how could I ever compete!? I built my closest friendships while studying at Charles Sturt and we are still an incredibly tight-knit bunch. One of my favourite things is to be on a big global news story and to bump into someone I went to uni with who is covering the story for another network. I’m so proud of what my Charles Sturt friends have achieved. They still inspire and challenge me to this day.”

“I’m still great mates with the friends I made in first year. Bathurst and Charles Sturt University was a defining experience in my life and I am so happy to have shared it with so many wonderful friends.”

Adapting to the changing journalism industry

Journalism as a profession is constantly evolving and Hamish has faced rapid change throughout his career.

“The practice of journalism has completely transformed within the relatively short time I’ve been a journalist. When I finished university and started out at WIN Television in Canberra, we used two-way radios to communicate. I didn’t even have a work email address. Today, it is impossible to imagine doing my job without the digital tools of the trade. For all this change, however, journalism fundamentally remains about spotting a good story and telling it well.”

 “In my profession it is important to care. Care about the story. Care about the people you meet along the way. And care about the people you are broadcasting to. This profession can wear you down, and it isn’t worth doing if you don’t care.”

The road to Harvard and exploring new modes of storytelling

Hamish has been recognised for his impactful contribution to his industry through nominations for prestigious journalism awards including the Walkley Awards and the Quills Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

Among his proudest accomplishments, Hamish was one of 24 journalists and the only Australian awarded a prestigious Neiman Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University. As part of his studies, Hamish explored the intersection of traditional international affairs reporting with innovative, contemporary modes of storytelling to develop new models for collaboration and delivery.

“I felt incredibly privileged to have been granted a fellowship at Harvard. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my career and consolidate the knowledge base I’ve built. Harvard helped to ensure that I continued to challenge myself and could contribute more effectively to the public discourse on global affairs.”

Making an impact through news

Hamish is a passionate advocate for change in the business of delivering news. He offers some sound advice to future journalists who are given the opportunity to make a global impact in their careers through worldly travels, and reveals what he believes to be the single most important issue in today’s society.

“In the future I’d like to continue shaping the way we deliver and consume news. It has changed so much in my career. We didn’t even have email addresses when I first started, let alone Twitter. It has been so exciting to participate in shaping the way big news organisations use social media and engage with audiences in an entirely different way.

“The best piece of advice I ever received was to keep a diary of my world travels. And I wish I took that advice. I regret not keeping a personal record of this tumultuous period in world history.”

 “Remember to be honest and decent. No success is worth anything if you sacrifice your values along the way.”

Create a world worth living in

What does a better world look like to you? Does it mean finding a cure for illnesses, improving education, making new discoveries, leading a movement or developing innovative technologies? Or is it about having an impact in your local community and making a difference to the little guys out there? If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in a career you’re passionate about, you can with us.

Our wide range of courses will give you the skills and industry knowledge so you can be the change you want to see in the world. Follow your heart, get qualified and land a job you’ll love with Charles Sturt University. Let’s get to work!