Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Laurel Henning, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Reporter at Capital Brief
Can you tell me a bit about your initial experience in the media industry and what brought you to the media industry in Australia?
Before moving to Australia, I worked for a regulatory news organisation called MLex in Brussels. I reported on EU energy and climate policy and got to report on the Paris climate talks in 2015, which was a highlight! In the time I had worked at MLex at that point, we'd gone from a fast-growing startup to being part of global legal publisher LexisNexis and we'd added offices in the US and Asia, but never in Australia. There was an opportunity to report for MLex in Australia, and I thought it was a good challenge to set us up in a market where we were barely known at the time.
How has your previous work experience informed your approach to reporting for Capital Brief?
I think that challenge then of, in some ways, building something from the ground up (though we still had an established company to fall back on) has certainly informed my approach for now being part of a startup with Capital Brief. I know in some ways what it feels like to introduce a new media outlet to people.
Can you share a memorable story or experience that has been a highlight in your career?
I think reporting on the Paris climate talks was a real highlight because I'd never covered something on that scale before and you could really feel a sense of observing a crucial moment in global and political history. Reporting from Australia, covering the earliest criminal cartel trials has been really interesting as I've had a chance to see this law be tested for the first time. My former colleague James Panichi and I made an audio documentary with an individual who had faced criminal charges and was acquitted on all counts by a jury in the first jury trial for a criminal cartel case. Bringing that human story out of a lawsuit was a really great project to work on and I'm grateful to have heard his perspective on his experience.
What are some of the challenges that you encounter covering legal affairs on a national scale?
You have to pick your coverage and be aware that you simply cannot cover everything, so what you do report on... do it well!
What perspectives and stories are you personally most interested in hearing about through your work?
I'm always keen to hear from businesses that are affected by the different areas of law I am covering and how they might be adapting to any regulatory changes - for instance with the ongoing Privacy Act Review, or changes the ACCC wants to see to merger laws. I'm also interested in the world of work within the law - how it's changing and why.
Is there any upcoming work from you or the team at Capital Brief we should keep an eye out for?
Gosh, all of it! If you're not already signed up for our free daily newsletter, The Edition, do it now. It's the best way to get a taste of all of the exciting stuff we're working on.
And lastly, what do you look for in content pitching?
Something easy to understand and jargon free. Ideally connections to people to discuss a topic who are either researching an issue or working on it directly.