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Meet the Team – Online Editor, David Johns

18 May 2023

Tell us about your journey into the role of Online Editor of The West Australian?

I began my career at Seven West Media – as a cadet in Bunbury working for the South Western Times and the Bunbury Herald. I was trained up and then sent out to a range of regional offices to fill in for senior reporters, which was an amazing way to learn the job while visiting areas I may not have otherwise seen. I moved to Community News back up in Perth, where I worked as a reporter before becoming an editor at various branches. I even enjoyed a brief stint on the “dark side”, working in the marketing and communications team for St John WA, before coming back to journalism – first at Community News then at The West. I’ve been in the online editor role for two years now and I absolutely love it.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same. At any one moment I could be publishing an exclusive investigative piece for or I could be writing a story about an influencer going viral for all the wrong reasons on PerthNow. Some days are busier than others, but when a major news story breaks there is nothing quite like the adrenaline of being in a major newsroom with a team of journalists, producers and editors bringing that news to our online audience as soon as possible.

What is one of the biggest news stories The West Australian has covered in the past year or so that has captivated readers?

In terms of major breaking news, it’s hard to go past the kidnapping and rescue of Cleo Smith. I’ll forever remember the morning she was found safe and receiving an early morning call from my editor, Anthony De Ceglie, getting me out of bed and straight into it. It was one of the most rewarding stories I’ve ever worked on because it had that rare quality of being a huge news story with a happy ending.

Who or what inspires you most?

My greatest inspiration is the people who have the courage to put their name and face to some of our most important articles. I’ve been involved with stories about sexual assault and domestic violence survivors who waive their right to anonymity in order to get an important message out there, as well as people who lose family members in tragic circumstances and put aside their grief to pay tribute to their loved ones. Without those brave people we wouldn’t be able to write such powerful stories.

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Work hard, and enjoy every minute of your career. It’s a privilege to be in journalism and you will find it incredibly rewarding.