Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Senior Producer for ABC's Pacific Local Journalism Network Nick Sas
Nick Sas is currently working as a Senior Producer for ABC's Pacific Local Journalism Network. Previously, he was a Digital Journalist with ABC's Specialist Reporting Team.
Medianet sat down with Nick to discuss his career, and how he first got into the media industry.
You are currently working as the Senior Producer for ABC’s Pacific Local Journalism Network.
What does an average day look like for you?
Well I mean, everyday is always quite diverse. We just hired two journalists in the Solomon Islands and Fiji and we have more plans to expand across the region.
Basically, it’s just a lot of managing content, grabbing story ideas, and staying abreast of all the happenings in the Pacific. It’s pretty broad, in terms of what I am personally doing, and a lot of what I do on a daily basis is helping out everyone with training and development and getting everyone to a point where we have a lot more active ABC correspondents.
That’s the kinda gist of it!
Did you always want a career in media?
Yeah well, when I was fifteen I did a project with my English teacher which was basically all about creating your own magazine, back when magazines were still very important and relevant around 22 years ago!
I remember loving it and thinking ‘This is great!’ and I realised that it’s something that I want to do when I leave school. I was quite lucky in that I had a relative idea of what I wanted to do when I was relatively very young.
Working in the media is great, there are so many different people you end up meeting and you’re exposed to so many different stories and I just wouldn’t want to do anything else.
What have you learnt the most about yourself during your career, so far?
I don’t know, maybe that you really can’t jump to conclusions with things. This is a hard thing to answer!
I think I have really understood the importance of listening and being confident. When you first get started you are really self-conscious about ringing up people and thinking that you are bothering them. However I have found that in most cases, unless people are wanting to hide something, everyone wants to have their story told. Being persistent but always being ready to listen is paramount.
What is your favourite thing about working as a producer?
Being able to help develop stories from the get-go and being able to dip your toes into whole new different platforms like TV, radio, social media, digital, and video, so you get to tell so many stories in such different ways since working at the ABC is so multifaceted.
What is your most memorable experience from volunteering in the Solomon Islands?
I think just travelling around the region and going to places that are very remote and not many people get to go to, and you get to experience a culture in a very raw, untouched level, so I was very lucky to get to experience that.
The Solomon Islands are such a wild and interesting place, and still largely untouched by Western pressures and influences. That’s one of the great things about the Pacific, it’s still very raw and real and it’s why I just love working and living in this area.
Going off from that, do you think your experience as a volunteer in the Solomon Islands helped prepare you for your current job?
I wouldn’t be able to do this now without my previous experience. I was able to pick up on the Pijin and Bislama languages and realise that things move a little bit slower in the Pacific, which is a huge contrast to Australia where we are always on the move and pushing for the next thing. Living in the Pacific is a slower type of life, and you really start to appreciate patience and learn to slow down a little bit.
I think living here would be good for everyone!
What are the key differences and similarities that you have found working as a producer vs working as a reporter?
Yeah I mean, they definitely tie-in with each other. I’m still doing some reporting in this role, but I guess now I’m just more behind-the-scenes and I do more editing.
Depending on what your role is, journalism can be a solely individual job and can be quite isolating, but with production there’s a lot more team-based work. I’ve been so lucky with being able to do so many different things in my career and while I would love to go back to reporting it still goes hand-in-hand with producing.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or to someone else starting out in your career?
For my younger self specifically I would say to learn about all the different forms of journalism. I was very adamant that I wanted to be a writer, and I wish I could go back and warn myself that it’s now a much different media environment than it was 20 years ago!
When I started working in media 15 years ago back in Perth in 2009 I witnessed about 100+ redundancies when I first started.
I think that diversifying and doing as much as you can, whether it’s podcasts, digital, video, TV, writing, social media, everything, and be 100% committed otherwise don’t bother.
What are your pitching preferences? How do you prefer people to get in contact with you?
Relevance is really important, so bulk-emails just don’t work for me personally.
I much prefer a call and talk over the phone.