Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Joshua Del Pozo Chief of Staff at Nine Network’s The Today Show
Joshua Del Pozo is the Chief of Staff at Nine Network’s The Today Show. He has worked with the program for nearly 8 years, starting out as a producer in 2015.
Medianet sat down with Joshua to discuss the highs and lows of working in a fast-paced live television studio.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role within The Today Show and what an average day looks like for you?
My day-to-day role is to largely help bring the show to life and to lock in the best content. But it is also to guide the producers, editors and reporters to develop three-and-a-half hours of breakfast television. I’m constantly scanning for stories online and pitches by email, and we also have multiple meetings each day and producer pitch meetings across the week to help fill the show. We have such an incredible team and the program wouldn’t be what it is without the people behind the cameras.
What was your journey toward working in broadcast media like? Did you always know that you wanted to work in this industry?
Growing up, English was my strongest subject, so naturally I followed a pathway that didn’t need to involve Maths or Science. As a bonus when I was about 15 I had an internship at a surf magazine called ‘Tracks’, which kickstarted my passion for writing and interviewing.
Then whilst completing my university degree, I quickly realised how much I loved working in the world of broadcast. The newsroom is just so fast-paced and nothing beats the adrenaline rush of chasing a story when it breaks.
Can you give us a little bit more insight into what actually happens behind the scenes when something big breaks? For example the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, how did those changes play out behind the scenes?
The plans for the Queen had been in place for quite some time. When you know someone of that importance is getting to a certain age or is reaching the final stages of life you need to make sure the right plans are in place. So big ones like that are of course stressful but the ones that are the most stressful in my opinion are the ones you can’t plan for, the ones you just don’t see coming.
When something big breaks that you aren’t expecting, that is when everyone just kicks into gear and does what needs to be done. You start thinking about deploying reporters to the area. You also need to start thinking about what kind of talent we are going to need to bring the story to life - is it friends? family? the local mayor? emergency services? or witnesses to the event? I think what makes The Today Show so great is the chasing ability of our producers who get it right every single time.
So for you personally, what is the most challenging big news story you’ve been involved with and how did you navigate that?
One that springs to mind for me is, there was a missing boy named William Callaghan. He was a non-verbal teenager who went missing in bushland around Mount Disappointment in Victoria in May of 2021. At that time the news cycle was gripped with COVID and everyone was already feeling the weight of all the bad news stories. William had been missing for two nights in freezing bushland and the newsroom was bracing for the worst.
Remarkably he was found-alive and the images of him being carried to safety put a collective smile across the country.
In the hours after he was found, I actually managed to come across the step-father’s phone number buried on his Facebook page. I knew that everyone would be frantically chasing William’s family and so when I found the step-dad’s number I left him a voicemail basically outlining, how I found his number, how he might want to put that post on private and how it’s important for him to spend time with this family rather than chatting to the media straight away.
Astonishingly a few hours later he called and said because of the way The Today Show went about it, he would be more than happy to come on the program the following day to thank the media and the emergency services that helped find his step-son.
What I took away from chasing a story like that is to always try and put the feelings of the people first and be as genuine as possible. You don’t need to endlessly antagonise people for the sake of a story and I will always ask myself - what will they get out of doing an interview with us?
Finally, what are your pitching preferences? How do you prefer people to contact you?
My preference for pitches is always via email to start with. I do get a fair amount of emails each day so I’m always happy to receive a follow up if I haven’t gotten back to you within 48 hours. I am also more than happy to take a call if the pitch is time sensitive or there are some sensitive details that are hard to convey over email.