Seven West Media Advertising

Call Sales

Secondary Navigation

Latest News

Meet the Team – West Australian Newspapers Chief of Staff, Kate Phillips

21 October 2022

Tell us about your journey into the role of Chief of Staff of The West Australian?

My career in media started straight out of university after I won a national competition to be WA’s art and culture reporter for Triple J. From there I made the move into TV news, where I worked as a reporter for GWN7 in Albany, before heading to the Bunbury bureau where I worked as a reporter, presenter, producer and then Chief of Staff. When I had my first child, I moved to Perth and into communications where I worked in and managed teams of communications professionals across State and local government for more than a decade. Then in 2020, just as the pandemic hit WA, I made the big move back to media after accepting a job at The West as a senior digital producer where I managed in the morning – before taking on the role of Chief of Staff.

What does a typical day in your role look like? 

There is no typical day – that’s the best part. Basically, it’s a bit of a whirlwind from when I wake up until I go to bed. I start my day checking overnight alerts, websites, social media, and emails and listening to AM talkback stations, before touching base with our early journalist at 6am to make sure we’re across all the latest, breaking news. This continues throughout the day, while I work with the team to chase and take the best yarns to conference at 10am and again at 2pm – before we really start to home in on the best and most relevant yarns of the day to place in the paper. I then stay across any developments or breaking news (and plan what I can) before it all starts again the next day. There are so many moving parts to the role, it’s hard to sum it up succinctly. But essentially I work closely with our journalists, backbench, and Editor-in-Chief – as well as our online, regional, and community teams – to push out the best news and products possible every day.

What is one of the biggest news stories The West Australian has covered this year that has captivated readers?

Our journalists consistently break really good yarns that captivate our readers – so it’s hard to narrow it down. But in September, arguably the biggest story of the year broke – the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The team did an amazing job of capturing and covering one of the biggest moments in history. The reporting was in-depth, interesting, and on point and it got great feedback from readers. The other big one, albeit not this year, was when Cleo Smith was found. For some unknown reason, I’d logged on extra early that morning. Minutes later I got a call from our Editor-in-Chief saying that she’d been found. We kicked off our coverage then and there. It was an incredible moment to be part of and is something I will always remember.

Who or what inspires you most?

Brave and passionate journalists who stand up for the underdog. The ones who push harder, go further, stay agile and don’t give up. They’re the ones who get the best stories – and they are the ones who inspire me the most.

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

Trust your gut, take the chance (it usually pays off), don’t be limited by self-doubt, and it’s OK to push boundaries. One of my proudest moments is being called a disruptor by a former manager – even if it was intended as a backhanded compliment!