Kirstie Fitzpatrick is a roving reporter for Capital Radio Network based in Canberra, and a weekend news reader for the network’s radio stations 2CC and 2CA. Prior to this role, she was the producer for Capital Radio Network’s 2CC Canberra Live drive show. Before moving to Canberra, she had worked as a journalist and weekend editor of HuffPost Australia. Her Twitter handle is @k__fitzpatrick.
What inspires you to tell stories?
At some point in our day-to-day, we’ll drive past an event taking place and wonder what it is, or we’ll hear someone talking about a government decision and we’ll wonder what it means. News affects everyone and as a journalist, it’s my job to explain that event or dissect that decision. It’s empowering to make people aware of something they might not know and at the same time, learn about the world in a different way. I’ve covered stories on community events, to natural disasters, to safe ways to remove mould from your home! Stories don’t have to make international headlines to affect people and I think it’s the chance to dig a little deeper that inspires me.
What has been your favourite medium to work in so far? And why?
All media platforms have their own way of engaging people and all have a different way of telling a story. I love being the voice behind weekend news in Canberra and I enjoy the pressure of being on the road, scripting and voicing reports to deadlines. Radio also has that personal element – you get to know and recognise voices and names. But at the same time, I’m excited about the future of digital journalism. I think an advantage of working online is the role social media can play in getting your news and stories to reach a much wider audience. It’s also a creative medium – you’re publishing a story not only to a news site but to Facebook, to Twitter, to LinkedIn and that means you’re able to tailor it to multiple online channels. In terms of TV, I’m yet to take a job in front of the camera! But it’s definitely a medium I’d love to be more involved in.
Who would you consider an influential person, organisation, platform for your industry?
I’ll still pick up a newspaper, tune into the radio or switch on the six o’clock news to find out what’s going on in the world. But I think social media is becoming incredibly influential as a media platform. If a major event takes place across the world, social media is the first place you’ll see it or hear about it. Take the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, the royal engagement between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the death of Whitney Houston. Thanks to Twitter, we knew about those events as they happened.
For a press release to capture your attention, what should it contain?
First things first, if you address the journalist in the release specifically, spell their name correctly! Correct spelling, grammar and clear language are always appreciated. A press release will catch my attention if it’s relevant. A little bit of research about the organisation you’re sending a pitch to will always help. Timeliness is also important – if you have a response to news that broke two days ago, I’m probably unlikely to use it. I find good releases aren’t too long and they stick to the pitch. If it’s being sent via email, a clear subject heading that briefly explains what the release always helps.