Interview with Hannah Blackiston, Deputy Editor at Mumbrella
Hannah Blackiston is the deputy editor at Mumbrella and one of the hosts on the podcast series Mumbrellacast. Prior to joining Mumbrella as a senior media reporter in 2019, Hannah worked in various roles across the media sphere, including as deputy editor for Elite Agent, a journalist and producer for Sky News Business and a journalist for Nine. Hannah tweets at @HEBlackiston.
What made you choose a career in journalism?
I tried out a couple of things before journalism, including a very brief stint as a vet nurse, but I have always loved writing and initially, I was simply trying to find a career where I could write every day. As my career developed, I fell in love with the storytelling aspect of journalism. I love being able to hold a small role in helping someone tell their story.
How is the current situation with Australia’s lockdown affecting your day-to-day job?
Like many other media companies, our roles can easily be conducted from home, and we’ve been doing that since the beginning of the outbreak. As such, the changes haven’t been in my day-to-day tasks so much as in the reporting – everything I was working on has been put to the side while we cover the unprecedented challenges faced by the media and marketing industries during this time.
What is the target demographic of Mumbrella?
We’re a trade publication for the media and marketing industry. Our readers work in either media roles, agency roles or as marketers on the brand side. We also have a number of readers who are just interested in the industry and the way it ticks – and they’re usually the most vocal ones in the comment threads. In terms of age and gender, there is a male skew (an unfortunate reflection of the industry), but we do attract everyone from juniors to CEOs.
How do you find a balance between your online reporting and hosting duties?
Mumbrella holds a very large number of events each year (of course we have postponed them for 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic) and part of my role is speaking onstage at these events. Those days are completely chaotic and to be honest it’s not so much a balancing act as putting out the nearest fire to you. But luckily, when I’m not at an event, my priority is always the daily newsletter, so that makes planning my day a lot easier.
Walk us through your process on how you sort through your press releases, from what’s usable and what’s not.
We cover specific beats at Mumbrella – I cover media owners which includes publishers, TV broadcasters and radio. That helps in the sorting process – if a release isn’t from someone in that field it’s rarely for me. From there, it depends a lot on whether the news is consumer-focused or if it would interest the industry. After a year with Mumbrella, I’ve become pretty good at picking what will interest our audience and what won’t.