Kristine Tarbert Yahoo Lifestyle Features and Health Editor
Yahoo Lifestyle Features and Health Editor Kristine Tarbert tried her hand at just about every field of the media industry before settling into the digital space.
Having started out in local newspapers, moved onto magazines and some feature writing, and dabbled in broadcast media with some video work, Kristine has now spent the past five years in various roles at Yahoo Australia.
Reflecting on a decade of experiences working in the media industry, Kristine says the biggest change she has noticed is in the pace of the news cycle.
“[There’s an] almost insatiable demand audiences have for information and news basically straight away. I think social media has probably played a huge part in that — in how people access their news and access the topics that interest them,” she says.
“Something that's changed a lot — especially from having written for print before — is just how quickly you need to be able to adapt to what people are interested in and how quickly you want to get content up, because it can become quite stale very quickly.”
Similarly, Kristine notes a “refocusing” on the impact and influence of things such as social media and SEO (search engine optimisation) on the news agenda.
“Social media is partially where we can sort of find and source a lot of our stories, and it's also, I suppose, our most direct line to our audience, to see what they're interested in, how they're reacting to our content, what they're sharing and all that kind of thing.”
Much like so many journalists these days, Kristine says she “wears many hats” in her role, and describes her work in the health space as an opportunity to really help people
“One of our big focuses particularly coming out of COVID and 2020 is health and wellbeing, and what we can do to really help and inform our readers and our audience … with informative stories with experts, and explaining trends,” she says.
“Something that we really tried to do as well is come at it from less of a doom and gloom angle, and more of a 'how can we help people?' angle. So obviously there are stories around how much people's mental health has deteriorated for example throughout the pandemic, and that's something that we did report on.
“But then rather than just giving you that information and saying 'good luck', we'll look at 'who can we talk to and what can we sort of push out to help people whose mental health might have gone downhill during the pandemic?’.”
In her role, Kristine’s work also focuses on human interest, “viral news” and “real life” stories. She says many of these highlight issues such as surprising conditions people may be struggling with, as a reminder that health should always be a priority.
“I think one of the ones that stuck with me once … was a story I did with a young girl who was only in her early 20s who actually went into cardiac arrest while she was standing on the platform at Redfern Station, which is literally where I get off the platform for work everyday as well when we're in the office,” she says.
“Stories like that, of something that has happened to someone so young, which is shocking in itself, because you wouldn't think that someone in their 20s who's a fit and healthy young woman, living her best life and doing well in her career could then just collapse in the middle of a train station. There was luck involved as well in that story in that there just happened to be a paramedic standing a couple of feet from her who could start CPR straight away, which was the reason she was able to get to the hospital and survive.
“I've been enjoying my time on the Yahoo team this past year, coming out of what's been a crazy few years, and I'm really proud of what we've been able to do. We're obviously hitting the nail on the head with our readership at the moment, our numbers have grown massively over the last 12 months, so it's been really exciting.”
Kristine's pitching preferences:
“I think the biggest thing is just already having the angle that is ready to go. Particularly in the health space, there are a lot of studies and there is a lot of research that gets sent across a lot of the time, and it's really wordy”.
“So if someone takes the extra time to work out what element of that information is going to be of most value, and how one might be able to sell it, particularly if they have case studies that can sort of bring the story to life even more, then that's definitely the way to get it across the line.”
For more pitching preferences and industry-level insights, download our 2022 Media Landscape Report.