Journalism career highlights with Pedestrian Native Content Editor David Allegretti
Working as the Native Content Editor for Pedestrian Group as well as having experience writing for major news outlets such as MTV, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Japan Times, Junkee and Beat Magazine is more than hard work, but David Allegretti says that he loves the ever-flowing fluctuation of the media industry.
“I like unpredictability, I think in a messed-up way I thrive on it," he says.
“...Which is why I really love my current role at Pedestrian Group, which allows me to work across so many different titles like Pedestrian.TV, VICE, Refinery29, Business Insider, Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Kotaku.”
“They're all so different, and I love that variety.”
The arduous task of working and writing for many different outlets has allowed David to learn more about himself, especially in terms of becoming adaptable to change.
“You'll be given chances in your life and it's almost impossible to predict when they'll come," he says.
“It’s out of your hands, to a certain extent. But what’s in your hands is the preparation aspect.”
“Prepare, sharpen the sword every day. Be ready, because you never know what tomorrow will bring but it will smile on those who are ready.”
However, working in media was not always on David’s mind and a career in this industry wasn’t outlined as a goal when he was younger.
“Honestly, I never really considered it as an option.”
“I was born soon after my family moved to Australia from Rome, I didn't learn English until I got to primary school, my three older sisters dropped out in high school, and every adult in my life worked with their hands.”
“When I was at school, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future.”
David says that having a curious mind and a yearning for knowledge during his younger school years as well as a fascination with how the world operates helped to propel him into the world of journalism.
“I guess if you follow that curiosity to its natural conclusion you end up asking questions for a living.”
Since 2013 David has worked as a writer and has seen how the media industry has adjusted itself to a new, changing landscape over the last few years.
The internet has of course been a major factor in the industry’s modifications, David explains.
“The Almighty Algorithm has grown more hostile and I’ve long given up trying to understand its whims and machinations.”
“One thing’s for sure, gone are the days you can just chuck a video of puppies on Facebook and get 18 million views.
The internet has now made it even more easily accessible to now learn information about everything going on in the world, meaning that individuals now need to do even more to bring attention to their work.
“On the individual level, it’s not enough to just be good at ‘your thing’ anymore, you gotta bring more to the table. If you're predominantly a writer, you need to be able to jump on camera, you need to know how to run socials, essentially, you gotta be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
“You can’t just write your story and be done with it anymore. Unless you're the second coming of Hemingway – if you are, I’d love to chat!”
“It’s basically adapt or die, TikTok is the new kid on the block but there will be more, and you can huff and puff and stick to your guns, or adapt to new modes of storytelling. The latter always wins.”
Working and writing online also comes with a lot of perks, and the growing need for more information has allowed new forms of storytelling to help a story have even more impact.
“Online gives you the freedom to tell a story in the best way possible. Would this work better as a video? An online article? A carousel on Instagram? To work online is to work in a field of almost limitless possibility.”
The almost mythic quality of having your work in printed media still holds a lot of weight, even in this digital age.
“Online and digital media is fun, it's thrilling, but having said that, nothing comes close to seeing your words in print.”
“Maybe I’m old-fashioned or a relic, but there's a certain kind of joy that never leaves you when you can actually pick up a story and hold it in your hands.”
Due to David’s growing list of interesting stories and people that he has met during his time at VICE, it is hard to narrow down his favourite and most memorable experiences of his career, but he still mentions a few specific instances that come to mind.
“I try to have as much fun as I can, especially with VICE, who have always been so great in allowing me to go on dumb adventures – like eating nothing but Nutella for a week, or sneaking into the zoo and a Coldplay concert in a hi-vis vest, sleeping in display beds across Melbourne, hallucinating by eating the hottest chillies known to man, looking for UFOs in Japan, and just exploring so many abandoned buildings.”
“VICE really had a thing for old mental asylums and graveyards.”
Talking to people such as the leader of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement during the 2019 protests, refugees on Manus Island during the tense standoff of the detention centre’s last days, Hiroshima survivors 72 years after the bomb, former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib, as well as working undercover to interview Balinese drug dealers only days after the executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are also pretty special moments.
Looking back on his journey to the media industry as a younger man, David says the main piece of advice he would give to his past self is to persevere through the difficult time and to keep his curiosity intact.
“I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s gonna be a tough road, but you’ll be fine as long as you stay curious.”
“I think curiosity is the most important ingredient for any writer or journalist to possess – curiosity breeds passion, from that passion stems hard work, and from hard work comes quality journalism.”
“My main piece of advice is to write as much as you can, for whoever will take you, or if video is your thing, then do that, the main thing is: do the thing.”
“Knock on doors, ring people up. Believe in yourself and make it happen – because no one will make it happen for you.”
David also says that having the confidence to ask for what you want is a key factor to his success in this industry.
“Your life will change when you randomly walk into the Melbourne VICE office as a naive uni student and ask for an internship – but it won’t change until you get the guts to walk in.”
However, he still acknowledges how difficult and sometimes unrewarding this work can be.
“Yes, interning will suck – you will study full time and work two side jobs while writing for free for a bunch of blogs that no one reads, and then get paid peanuts for a further few years writing for blogs some people read.”
“You will never sleep, but in a weird way you will romanticise this time and you will miss it. Although you will look back with the rose-tinted comfort only hindsight can bring.”
David’s pitching preferences:
“Please don’t cold call my mobile (unless we already have some sort of relationship!). My email is very easy to find, and I do try to read all of them. Also, I understand that this is a necessary evil, but generic PR emails have a very high chance of being ignored unless the subject matter is super interesting or super relevant.”