Sarah Ramantanis
Sarah Ramantanis discusses her first year as a journalist and working in the time of COVID-19.

441. 2020 Lookback: A new journalist’s first year

When we first spoke with Sarah Ramantanis, she was a freshly minted college graduate eager to get her start in a journalism career. That was back in the early days of the year — and before COVID-19. 

But the pandemic has turned out to be something of an opportunity for Ramantanis, who now works for Philanthropy Australia and is about to end her year-long stint as national communications director for UN Youth Australia

“Even though we’re in a pandemic, I’ve probably had one of the best years of my life in a professional standpoint,” she says.

She received the job offer from Philanthropy Australia the week the pandemic hit, she says, and while it’s difficult starting a new job when you can’t sit beside your colleagues and learn from them, Ramantanis says she’s excited about the role. 

It’s been difficult to keep learning from people around me because of the stage of life I’m in, I want to learn from people who’ve had a wide range of life experience,” she says. “Everyone has been going through their own challenges. … In a year where a lot of my drive was blocked, I had some days where I woke up and wanted to get done what I had to get done and not anything else,” whereas, during pre-COVID times, she would’ve been one of the first in the office, eager to start the day and learn. 

The other silver lining, she feels, is that her ambition to take on these roles at the same time while also working fully remotely will appeal to future employers. 

“I think it will show people I’m willing to do the work and be proactive as well as stick around when times are tough,” she says. “If I can do this, it will take me further, especially in the first impression.” 

It’s All Journalism host Michael O’Connell checks in with Sarah Ramantanis in the first of a series of conversations with a handful of previous guests. They discuss her wild first year as a professional writer for Philanthropy Australia and UN Youth Australia and why the year, overall, was a great one for her.

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