Wes Hosking has spent more than a decade in the Herald Sun newsroom. It’s the flip side to where he came from; having graduated university with a business degree and working several years in advertising agencies. Fast forward to now and Wes can be found sitting at the Sunday Herald Sun as the Chief of Staff, a position he landed after working the beat as a consumer and education reporter and covering the police rounds. Wes is someone that knows the many facets of the newsroom, so we caught up with the man himself to talk all things journalism.


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When did you first discover your passion for journalism?

I actually completed a business degree and worked at advertising agencies for several years before deciding to pursue a long-held interest in journalism. My employer at the time was really understanding and allowed me to work part time to study, which I am still grateful for. I used to sprint from the campus to work during my lunch hour and madly deal with office emergencies before making a dash back again for class. It was a very hectic period but I’m glad I took the plunge. Journalism was an unanswered question and I didn’t want to regret not giving it a chance.


What does a day in the life of a reporter look like?

Reporting really is a balance between being well organised and allowing yourself to let go and follow the unpredictable nature of news. Journalists working on a round are typically able to plan their day but those working on general news are often at the whim of whatever is happening and can find themselves out on jobs at short notice. All are working under constant time pressure and have to negotiate the demands of the audience for information as soon as possible with the need for accuracy and fairness. They are also expected to find new angles and exclusives which set the news agenda.


As chief of staff, what are the must haves you’re looking for in a story put out by an organisation or brand?

We are constantly approached by organisations and brands pitching stories which are really little more than advertorials. The stories we publish must tell our readers something new or different or connect with them on a human-interest level. Quirk and the unusual also have cut-through. Thorough, independent and insightful research is often a good starting point for organisations trying to get media coverage. Great photo ideas are also key and it’s vital organisations are ready to go when they contact outlets. Opportunities can last a day or only a few hours, so it’s vital interviewees are available as soon as you make contact.


How has the newsroom in print changed over the last 6-12 months?

Newsrooms are continuing to come under pressure amid tightening constraints on resources. This is really pushing newsdesks to prioritise what is most important and to allocate reporters and photographers accordingly.  Journalists are under pressure to file more stories, more often. But this cannot come at a cost to quality. The growth of multimedia is also reshaping their traditional role, with journalists now helping build stories in our editorial system for use in both print and online. This includes adding pictures and headlines.


What do you think the newsroom will look like in five years time?

This year I started teaching journalism at a university which has provided a really great insight into how journalism is evolving. The students can write stories, film and cut video, record podcasts, shoot and edit photos and even build digital interactives and explainers to accompany their work. This really is the future of newsrooms, with journalists working across different media types depending on what works best for the story rather than being confined to a single genre. I expect further integration of how print and online are managed in the years to come, with video playing an increasing role.


The most fundamental ingredient in life is…?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Working on police rounds for several years help provide a new understanding of the pressures and ramifications others face in their work. My take on a ‘bad day’ doesn’t really compare with those working in such fields nor those whose lives can be turned upside down in a moment. Remembering what matters to the audience is a good leveler and filter when approaching any story. I always try to be relatable and show a human side in what I do.


You’re marooned on an island – name three people you’d want there with you and why?

I’m not sure whether to imagine a tropical paradise or Survivor-style showdown with this one. Bear Grylls would have to get a call up so I had something to eat and somewhere to live. Wilson – he was the true star of Cast Away. One of my friends from the lifesaving club I volunteer at. They have a boat.