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Q&A with the editor of Woman’s Weekly

A business owner, journalist, media commentator, and her business card reads Associate Producer and Online Editor of the largest magazine in the country, Women’s Weekly magazine- meet Sheree.

Can you tell us a bit about your role as Associate Producer and Online Editor of Women’s Weekly? 

Every day is different, which I love. Usually my morning involves scrolling through the newspapers of the day and pitching stories to our media partner, Ninemsn. Once I get into the office I do a rundown of the online news list, followed by an editorial meeting with our editor-in-chief Helen McCabe and the magazine team. The online team can generally produce 10-12 stories and galleries a day, ranging from political stories, celebrity galleries, royal events and health news. I also manage our social media and liaise with our advertising team and occasionally get to go to events and launches.

How does your strategy and execution differ working online as opposed to print?

Print publications, from newspapers to magazines, contain linear content that is often consumed in a more relaxed setting. When you’re writing for the web, you want content that is brief, up-to-date and to the point. A lot of the editorial content that goes up on; is viewed by tablet and mobile users so it has to be of value to them. We also have to increase keywords to improve our search engine optimisation (SEO).

Are there any low points of your role and/or industry?

The only low point is working very long hours and being on call 24/7. As an online editor, if a big story breaks, we need to cover it.

You began your career as a Sports Reporter for Fox Sports while studying and also on Fashion TV- how do you think gaining work experience and exposure during your uni years has helped your career, and what advice do you have for other students looking to break into television?

I was luckily enough to be hired as an intern and then as a casual reporter at Fox Sports in 2008, which really helped me to hone my skills as a journalist. I also did some presenting work with Fashion TV and completed work experience stints with Seven News, The Weather Channel and 2UE Radio.

Broadcast is a fun, but very demanding industry with limited jobs on offer, so students really need to complete as much work experience as they can and produce an exceptional showreel. During semesters and on my days off from uni, I was in a newsroom learning as much as I could from senior journalists, presenters and news directors.

What saw you transition from television to print and online publishing? Is this something you had always aspired to?

I enjoyed my time as a casual television reporter, but I needed job security. In 2010, I was offered a full-time role with Fairfax Media, which was a great opportunity to expand my writing skills across print and online and work within a major media organisation. I spent three and a half years with Fairfax Media, covering many different rounds for newspapers and websites, including, politics, entertainment, health, education and crime.

After a short period in Europe and NYC, I began writing for women’s lifestyle magazines as a freelance writer, so when the position at The Australian Women’s Weekly came up earlier this year, I felt it was a natural fit for me.  I love magazines and I still love having a glossy magazine in my hand, but digital is the way of the future.

Are there skills that you’ve learnt in your career, and also those that are intrinsic to who you are that have helped you launch your accessories brand StyleU?

Journalism has taught me to be self-sufficient, logical and communicate with people from all walks of life. Being confident and backing yourself is key in any industry and particularly when you’re establishing your own business.  I was luckily enough to have some background knowledge of web design and content management systems (CMS) from working as an online reporter, so that really helped too.

Finally, is there anything you wish you knew when starting your career?

Hard work really does pay off. I placed a lot of pressure on myself from a young age to succeed quickly, but sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the small achievements you make along the way.


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