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Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Anthony Galloway, Chief Political Correspondent at Capital Brief

06 December, 2023

Medianet is joined this week by Anthony Galloway, Chief Political Correspondent of Capital Brief. Anthony’s career includes stints at The Age, Herald Sun and The Sydney Morning Herald covering Foreign Affairs and National Security.Screenshot 2023-12-07 095930


How did you get started in journalism, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?

I started off doing law at university - but after a while, I couldn't see myself being a lawyer. One day it dawned on me: "I read the newspaper from front to back every day, maybe I should be a journalist!"

Can you share a memorable story or experience that has been a highlight in your career?

Last year, I undertook three trips to Ukraine to cover Russia's invasion with a particular focus on civilians on and near the frontline. Speaking to ordinary Ukrainians who had lost loved ones, or whose partner had been abducted or seriously injured, was by no means a happy experience. But the perseverance of the people I met was brilliant and inspiring. Spending large periods of time in a conflict zone also helped me crystallise what is important when I was back in Australia, both personally and professionally.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you have encountered while reporting on politics in Australia?

Political reporting is this constant tussle between contact building and pissing off people in positions in power. A journalist who only builds contacts but isn't prepared to upset them isn't worth their salt. But neither is a journalist who only throws bombs and doesn't cover their targets fairly. Navigating this conflict is a constant challenge, and you don't always get it 100% right.

What are some of the most significant changes you've witnessed in reporting on politics and foreign affairs since you began your career?

When I was trying to get my first journalism job 12 years ago, just about every media organisation was still giving away their journalism for free and were trying to reach as many eyeballs as possible. As the industry was going through a state of flux, this led to a lot of bad journalism with the focus on click bait and reaching readers on social media. Editors cared about how many Twitter followers you had. This led to journalists wanting to be their own brand, which wasn't really my cup of tea. It's completely flipped now, with most publications pursuing a subscription model. It's not about mass readership, it's about convincing enough people to pay for a high-quality product. So in some ways, journalism is returning to what it used to be. And that's a good thing.

Is there any upcoming work from you or the team at Capital Brief we should keep an eye out for?   

I put out a weekly newsletter called Political Capital, where I try to tell readers what really happened in Canberra each week. Feel free to give it a read!

What perspectives and stories are you personally most interested in hearing about through your work?

I love public policy and engaging in the substance of issues. But whether we like it or not, federal politics is defined by conflict. So I think "he said, she said" journalism doesn't help readers understand what actually goes on, and what's true and false. So I'm always interested in, as far as possible, peeling back the onion and explaining to people why someone is saying what they are saying. That's the real story. 

Whether it's covering the corridors of Parliament or being in a war zone, I always like to explore the personal motivations of people. Sometimes it doesn't explain much, but sometimes it explains a lot.

And lastly, what do you look for in content pitching?

I look for an angle that can be the start of telling a good story. So please don't pitch me the release of a new report, pitch me something in the report. Also I very rarely write single source stories, and I always need to be able to seek third party comment.

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