Interview with Vanessa Brown, Travel Editor at news.com.au
After graduating with a degree in media and broadcast, Vanessa landed a job with Channel 9’s Today Show as a producer. She spent five years with the breakfast program, which saw her working across the country and the world on various entertainment, news and lifestyle stories. Vanessa has a great interest in travel, food, fitness, beauty and health. Before leading the travel team, she was a lifestyle reporter for news.com.au. Her Twitter handle is @vanessajbrown.
Where is your favourite place to travel to for holidays (not work!)?
Anything with a good beach and I’m sold. I’ve been to Mexico a couple of times now and have loved each trip. The food is amazing, the beaches are incredible and there’s such a variety of things to do. Relax by the pool in the morning, head out to a cenote for a swim at midday and explore some of the historical ruins in the afternoon followed by a cocktail at a beachfront bar.
What is your favourite travel hack of all time?
Not really a hack, but I never travel without over-ear headphones. Relying on airline buds for a long flight is a mistake I’ve made far too many times before! Lesson learnt, my pair is always tucked into my carry on. They cut out everything!
How has Instagram affected travel writing?
As a news website, we are constantly monitoring social media for trending stories and accounts. While we don’t typically do galleries of photos, we do like speaking to people who have made travel their career or executed a successful seachange. Hacks and tips are also of interest so, for example, we might speak to someone who has travelled around Australia for 12 months on $12 a day and documented their experience on social media. That would be a great story for us and translate well on our social platforms as well.
You’ve worked across a range of media – what’s your favourite medium and why?
I love the pace of digital. News has become so fast-paced now, being able to have a story up in minutes and add to rolling coverage with the latest developments is something our newsroom does without fault. I love that digital is really embracing video as part of our storytelling as well.
For a press release to grab your attention, what should it contain?
If a story is going to work for us, it’ll be obvious in the first few sentences of an email. The details normally included in a release (stats/figures/links to research/etc) can be accessed by the journalist when the story is in the works. Pitch emails with a big release attached don’t really grab my attention, and they can often distract from the best part of a story. I always keep my eye out for a good exclusive and a case study.