Hamish Hastie, State Politics Reporter, WAtoday
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s State Politics Reporter. He was formerly the masthead’s Business Reporter and prior to that, he was a Journalist at the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Senior Reporter at the Examiner newspapers in Perth.
You’ve worked in a few different areas of journalism – what’s your favourite?
That question is as hard as ‘what’s your favourite restaurant!’ I love telling stories and am lucky to do this across a number of platforms – web, print and video. My main love is food and wine, but I also get a thrill from breaking news and crime stories.
You recently took on the role of WAtoday’s Politics Reporter after a stint as their Business Reporter. What has the change been like?
It has been hectic stepping into the round in the thick of the state election campaign. It was ramped up further when WA’s first case of community transmission and the ensuing lockdown was thrown into the mix at the beginning of February. Aside from those minor blips, business and politics are so intrinsically linked in WA that the transition has been like wearing a favourite hat, just in a different colour.
Tell us a little about how you got to where you are today.
I’ve gravitated toward journalism as a career for as long as I can remember. Some serendipity was at play because I found out later in life that my biological grandmother and aunty were both journos too. I studied mass communications but after uni, I jumped into PR to avoid the sinking and burning ship that was the WA media industry. The existential dread eventually prompted me to bite the bullet when opportunity came knocking so I took a huge pay cut and started at the Examiner Newspapers, an independent suburban newspaper publisher delivering in the southeastern suburbs of Perth. I somehow managed to convince WAtoday to hire me and haven’t looked back.
In your opinion, what role do newspapers play within regional communities?
We are online-only but the closure of suburban and regional newspapers is utterly terrifying. They are incredibly important to shine lights on dodginess that is rife in local government.
What are the most important skills and traits for a reporter to have?
Feel free to vomit after reading this but tenacity, a thick skin and a hunger to change the world for the better is essential. When it comes to writing, the ability to sort the gold from the guff. It is something I’m still working on (sorry eds!)
How do press releases help you in your line of work? Or how can they be improved to better suit your needs?
I get the most from press releases when they provide good summations of stories or issues I am following. They can also be a good source of talent.