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Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Kate Burgess - Climate, Energy and Resources Correspondent at Capital Brief

29 October, 2023


This week’s Medianet Journalist Spotlight is with Kate Burgess of the newly-launched Capital Brief. With over two decades of industry experience, Kate shares her experiences and insight into the world of climate reporting in Australia.


How did you get started in journalism, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?

I was inspired to become a journalist around the age of 10, when I read "Over the top with Jim" which is a memoir by the Brisbane-based journalist Hugh Lunn. I got distracted studying economics at uni and started my career in corporate finance at PwC, but quickly determined it wasn't for me, and quit to study a Masters in Journalism which led to a career change into journalism. I began with a property trade media title before moving into mainstream business journalism with Fairfax.  

Can you share a memorable story or experience that has been a highlight in your career?

A highlight for me was visiting Chatham House when I was working as a journalist in London. The famous "Chatham House Rule" is even inscribed on the reception desk when you walk into their building on St James Square! I was fortunate enough to be able to record a podcast interview with one of their oil and gas foreign policy experts. 

What are some of the challenges that you have encountered reporting on climate and energy?

One challenge has been experiencing constant disappointment at a lack of progress on government policy, especially during the Abbott government era when the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was threatened with abolition, the Renewable Energy Target was wound back and the carbon tax was axed. At times it was difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but fortunately we now have a government with more progressive climate and energy policies.  

How have you seen attitudes towards climate reporting change in the industry during your career?

When I started covering energy around 2010, opinion was roughly divided as to whether climate change was human induced or not, and in Australia the federal government was in complete denial on the issue. Now, climate science is pretty well accepted, we have legislated emissions reduction targets and now most big decisions have some sort of climate lens or aspect to them.

For example, today I wrote about the ACCC approving Brookfield's takeover of Origin Energy - this was on the basis that Brookfield would build enough renewable energy to help Australia lower its emissions. If this happened even five years ago, climate considerations would not have been front and centre of the ACCC's decision making like it was today.  


Is there any upcoming work from you or the team at Capital Brief we should keep an eye out for?

We are working on an enterprise journalism series called the Net Zero files. It will tackle all the big risks and opportunities related to Australia's net zero transition, including the future of iron ore, green steel, hydrogen, emissions reduction policies and legislations, rare earths and other critical minerals, transportation, agriculture and more! 

What perspectives and stories are you personally most interested in hearing about through your work?

I am most interested in companies and individuals that are contributing positively to the net zero transition and any innovative products and services they are developing. 

And lastly, what do you look for in content pitching?

It needs to be new information, or a fresh perspective on an existing problem or issue. And it helps if it's offered to us on an exclusive basis! We are not a journal of record so we generally don't jump on stories that are mass-marketed to multiple media outlets.

Medianet is the ultimate PR platform connecting you with media contacts and outlets to get your story told.

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