Patrick Lenton is the Editor of Junkee. He is the author of two books, the collection of comedic essays ‘Uncle Hercules And Other Lies’ and a book of short stories ‘A Man Made Entirely of Bats’. He tweets at @patricklenton.
When did you first decide to be a journalist and why?
I studied creative writing at university with the ultimate goal of writing novels – journalism wasn’t really on my radar. After university, I began a pop culture and comedy-writing blog, just to write silly things about the culture I was enjoying, which drew the attention of a few entertainment editors, and I began freelancing for them. This turned into a real love of the pop culture and entertainment journalism world, and after many years of freelancing, I eventually decided to make the move into full-time journalism at Junkee.
You moved into the editor role at Junkee very quickly. How hard was the transition of moving from being a writer to editor?
The hardest transition has been broadening my editorial scope from the relatively carefree world of TV, film, podcasts and memes – and into politics, news and general culture. It’s good work, and important topics, but due to the state of the world, usually much more depressing than I’m used to! Otherwise, moving from staff writer into entertainment editor and then editor has meant that I’ve been able to get my head around the expanding roles pretty handily.
How would you describe the target demographic for Junkee?
Junkee’s readers span the complicated “youth” demographic of millennials, which range from mid-twenties to late thirties, as well as Gen Z. They tend to be smart, involved, left-leaning people who love pop culture.
Describe your typical work day.
My typical day begins with a pitch meeting with my team of staff writers, as we delegate the news, stories, and features in-house for the day. Then I’ll usually spend some time doing emails and admin, commissioning relevant pieces from my freelancers, and editing new stories. Over the day I’ll usually be editing and sending feedback for a few pieces from freelancers, while either writing or publishing one or two longer pieces. Then add in about 7,000 miscellaneous and confusing meetings.
For a press release to stand out to you, what should it contain?
Relevance! And timeliness (in the entertainment world I’m usually sent information about a trailer I covered four hours earlier).