Carrie Hutchinson is a travel journalist that has every page in her passport weathered and distressed. She is the head of content at get lost magazine, an independent travel magazine based in Melbourne. In her travels she has picked up more than just memories, landscapes and countless adventures, she has learnt valuable skills and experience from her extensive career in the industry. In her past, Carrie has worked as an editor for various magazines, journalism lecturer and a content producer. Carrie tweets at @OzCopyGirl.
What advice would you give to an aspiring travel journalist? What would you look for in their skill set?
Develop all your skills because there aren’t that many writers around who can make a living – certainly not a decent one – working solely as a travel journalist. Thankfully, everyone is looking for good stories (many refer to them as ‘content’) these days, so there are plenty of opportunities to supplement your income with copywriting. I’d also say you need to treat it like a business and be good at all the admin, from keeping track of your taxes to updating a work website, or you’ll never get to a point where work and finances aren’t stressing you out.
With an ever-growing online presence in today’s society, is it vital to keep travel journalism as authentic as possible or to infuse and blend with the social media movement?
What is authentic though? Once you throw a tourist or a travel journalist into a situation you change it. But social media is really important for us. It’s another way for readers to feel connected to a publication and for a publication to get its stories to a vaster audience. Also, any travel writer who goes on a famil (a free or low-cost trip for journalists) these days will no doubt be required to post to Instagram and/or Facebook as well as produce stories for a magazine or website.
What tools and/or skills do you use to keep your content as fresh and original as possible?
On get lost, we try to cover less well-known destinations or find another angle for a destination that everyone loves. It’s not really a tool or a skill – more a question of keeping up with what other publications are doing than trying to do things a bit differently.
In your travels, what are some of the most memorable landscapes, memories, cultures or events you’ll never forget?
How much time have you got? I think constantly about places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, but here are some of the best: a new friend getting me backstage at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, staring into the volcano on Tanna in Vanuatu, having a leopard roar and pounce towards me while I was in Kenya (actually, pretty much everything about Kenya), and the people I met throughout the whole country while travelling in Iran.
When sorting through press releases, how are you able to identify an opportunity or add from the information given?
To be honest, I receive so many press releases, most of them are given a fleeting glance before being deleted. In that fleeting glance, I’ll look for the words ‘launch’ or ‘new’ or try to clock where the destination is, then perhaps go in for a better look. Probably one in 500 press releases I receive is something I follow up for possible inclusion in the magazine.