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Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Jo Knox, Owner and Editor of ShortList and HR Daily

26 July, 2023

Jo Knox is the Owner and Editor of both ShortList and HR Daily. Both sites are Australian recruitment resources. Medianet sat down with Jo to discuss her pathway into this niche media space and the ups and downs of the HR media industry. 

JoKnoxCan you tell us a little more about your role at HR Daily and Shortlist?

I oversee the editorial for both sites, which really means deciding which stories we cover and how to go about them. I do a lot of interviewing and some writing every week, but I have a great team of journos who look after most of the articles, which then come back to me for subbing. I also organise and host our schedule of webinars and Q&As.


This particular area of the media is very niche, what inspired you to be involved in the HR media space? Did you always want to work in this space?

When I was getting my degree I didn't even know that niche journalism existed, but after graduating my first two interviews were with specialist publishers, and the concept was so exciting to me.

Once I started, I fell in love with the fact that the articles we write aren't just about interesting topics, they're really important to so many people. Workplace and business leaders rely on the news we publish, and what we do actually makes a difference in their organisations.


What does an average day look like for you?

I start the day listening to news podcasts while I walk my dog, and scan sites to be across major mainstream stories. Then I go through emails, so that by 9 AM I have some clarity on the five main stories we'll publish that day, although it doesn’t always work out that way!

I tend to conduct between one and three interviews every day, chat to my team members about their stories, and about half of my day is spent subbing.


What has been your most memorable experience in your entire career, so far?

The start of COVID really stands out for me as a crazy mix of challenges and opportunities. It had never felt more urgent to get people the right news at the right time.

Across both our sites, readers were dealing with stand-downs, JobKeeper, and all sorts of workplace rules changing every single day that we needed to keep them informed about. I'd always worked at pace, but this was a whole new level of hectic. (And like everyone else, I think I'm still recovering!)


Where do you pull your story ideas from?

It's a big mix. We build connections in the industries we write about so we know what's going on in their world. But we're very receptive to approaches from PR/comms people and sometimes directly by talent too. Then of course we also report what's happening in the legal landscape, staying across government initiatives, legislative developments, and court/tribunal rulings.


What are your pitching preferences?

People are often surprised by this but I'm very happy to take a phone call, hear the pitch, give someone an answer and potentially set up an interview time all in one hit. I actually find it faster and more convenient than wading through emails and waiting on responses.

Having said that, an emailed pitch is fine, but we prioritise exclusive or advance pitches where that's possible. If it looks like you've sent a detailed release or report to a whole bunch of media, we're not going to be that keen to spend time on it.

Due to the number of pitches we get, a while back we set up a “contribute page” on HR Daily describing how we like to work. That's been really useful in making the pitch process and managing expectations.

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