Interview with Ana Narvaez, Editor at The Urban Developer
Ana is the editorial director of property and cities publication The Urban Developer. She left the law to pursue a career in digital publishing and has worked as a writer and editor in Australia and internationally.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a journalist?
I didn’t really — I just knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer! I studied English literature and always wanted to be a “writer” but wasn’t quite sure how that would come to pass. When the opportunity at The Urban Developer transpired I jumped at it, although my understanding about property was scant at best. The website had substantial reach and audience numbers and I was excited about its prospects for growth.
How do you operate and filter stories in an industry where everyone pitching to you has got a strong agenda?
It’s not easy. Originally I just removed the “opinion” column — aspiring op-ed writers for The Urban Developer tend to be PR firms spruiking their newest client. Now our small team (three of us) have increasing conversations on the “quality” of the news. There’s a fine balance when reporting on development for example — more often than not it’s just a marketing ploy. For that reason, we try and cover project news as early as possible. For market-based stories and research, we preference certain economists, official data sources and university research.
How do you think the media has influenced the property industry?
I’d say it may be more the other way round.
What story has been the most interesting story to work on so far this year?
We write and publish so quickly we tend not to do “long-tail” or long-form editorial — but there have been a few ongoing stories that have been quite interesting. The ebb and flow of the housing market are most interesting to me! It’s quite dramatic. I also love writing about architecture.
What makes a good press release?
Exclusivity and newsworthiness.