Tell us about your journey into the role of Entertainment Editor of The West Australian?
Life as an entertainment journalist was not in the original script. After doing an Arts Management degree at WAAPA I flirted with hiring out water sports equipment, real estate and even a bit of toilet cleaning chucked in. After joining a private art dealer in London, the novelty wore off staring at the same art all day so I decided to try emulate my pals at the fashion magazines by being a stylist. Somewhere in the plot twist I ended up opening three bags of post a day at UK’s biggest newspaper Metro for about six months before the editor plucked me over night to launch a four page entertainment spread called Guilty Pleasures. It was a sink or swimmer. That became my story for the next 16 years serving up all the happenings of the showbiz world to 3.4million Londoners daily. COVID was the next fork in the road, where I relocated to Perth to be with family before jumping in some high-vis and enjoying a year and half of communications at Rio Tinto. Then a chance scroll through LinkedIn landed me at the doorstep of The West Australian and put a pen back in my hand.
What does a typical day in your role look like?
It’s largely find, plan, write. The first part of the day is gathering up all our interesting stories and collating what little gems the team have stumbled across. We then decide the most stories to tell and away we go. Write, write, write. Of course there’s lots of meetings, sorting pictures, layout, proofing, emails, laughing, crying and eating crisps in between.
What is one of the biggest challenges facing newspapers?
Everyone is a journalist these days, from TikTok to Instagram. People outside the news cycle are serving up entertaining stories themselves. Our job is to get the story behind the story and deliver news content that matters to our audience. We then sprinkle it with a little touch of difference to stand out from our competitors.
Who or what inspires you most?
I used to be obsessed with nineties women’s tennis growing up. There was a player called Jana Novotna, who always nearly got one hand on the trophy but then choked at the final hurdle. But she never gave up. She just kept chipping and charging into net until she finally, finally lifted the Wimbledon trophy. She has sadly passed away since but her legacy of unrelenting tenancy and overcoming herself is always somewhere floating around the back of my psyche.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t take hair for granted. Eat less crisps, drink less Coke and worry less.