Behind the story

So you want to be a journalist? Find out about AAP's journalism training program

AAP offers one of the most comprehensive trainee programs in the industry, awarding just a handful of highly-contested positions each year. Training is available in three stages – Editorial Assistant, News Intern and Cadetship. Applicants will be considered for all three levels.

Editorial Assistant

Positions are available in our busy Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms. EAs learn the fundamental skills of journalism from the ground up – dealing with phone calls and news releases, monitoring news bulletins, compiling news diaries, basic news-writing skills, compiling biographies and assisting reporters with research.

News Intern

Positions are available in AAP newsrooms in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and at the head office in Sydney. Successful applicants will join the News Discovery team, where they will learn the crafts of online research, data mining, video sourcing, reporting and news writing. There will also be legal training.


AAP’s highly-regarded 12-month cadetship program offers comprehensive training in all the skills necessary for journalists in the digital age while emphasising the traditional virtues of accuracy, speed, shorthand, ethical reporting, clear writing and good grammar.

Successful applicants of the cadet program enjoy a grounding in all news disciplines, being "rotated" through general news, courts, parliament, sport, turf, finance, entertainment and AAP's National Desk, which reports the major, overarching issues of the day.

They also work for a week in Canberra, joining our Parliament House reporting bureau for the cut-and-thrust of a parliamentary sitting week.

I could not be prouder to be an alumnus of AAP. In fact, AAP taught me the word alumnus, along with many other things that I didn’t know. It is fair to say that AAP made me a lot smarter than I was but I was still the stupidest person in that place. It is an amazing place to learn from and grow up in and to set upon the world from. - Joe Hildebrand, Studio 10 host and Editor-at-Large at Cadet Journalist 2000

AAP's cadets are learning the crucial fast-filing procedures specific to news agency work. Cadets are shown how to write fast and tight, keeping in mind AAP's constant and intense time pressures in getting the story out first. Our main Editorial principle - accuracy and speed, but accuracy above speed - is reinforced.

My cadetship has been a year of learning, from days spent out in the field to nights at the desk studying shorthand. I've been fortunate enough to interview musicians backstage at Coachella, eat Cheezels with Nick Xenephon at the doors of Parliament House and write hair-raising court stories on NSW criminals. - Simone Ziaziaris, Cadet Journalist 2017

The program also features training in court reportage, legal issues, and filing technologies. There is a particular focus on multimedia, with AAP reporters expected to file not only fast-moving text but also images, audio and video, and have an understanding of how social media fits in with our news model.

On Mondays, it's back to the books, learning the art of writing teeline shorthand at 120 words per minute. Achieving that target is mandatory in order to graduate.

From gangland shootings to parliamentary briefings, it has been a blur of a year full of crazy stories spent among some of the best journalists and photographers in the country. - Andrew Leeson | Cadet Journalist 2017

It's a steep learning curve but ensures our cadets are all-rounders. And just because you're a cadet, doesn't mean you'll be consigned to smaller stories - all our reporters have the opportunity to work on the major stories of the day.

What do we look for in candidates for all three traineeship levels?

Competition for the few positions is fierce, and the standard of applicants exceptional. You'll need a very keen knowledge of news and current affairs, including in hard news, finance and politics, and lighter news too, such as entertainment and human interest.

Show us how serious you are about the craft of journalism by giving us evidence of internships that you've completed at different news organisations.

The AAP cadetship is great.
There's so much breadth of experience - time in sport and on business, for example.
The breadth of experience is what you don't get in other places.The clean, straight, hard news writing style that you learn at AAP is what you always fall back on. -  Lisa Davies, Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, AAP Cadet Journalist 2001

And of course we're looking to see how you write - so it's essential you provide a good body of published work.

We'd like to see stories that demonstrate aptitude with hard news and which show some involvement in breaking news. The work should ideally include that accepted by mainstream publications, sites and/or broadcasters.

Your CV should show you're a self-starter and of course you'll need a current driver's licence.

Email your CV and body of published work (up to 10 items) to

Applications for AAP's 2017-2018 traineeship program will open on March 20, 2017 and close on April 7, 2017.

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