Skip to content
Back to blog

Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Sangeeta Kocharekar, Lifestyle Editor at POPSUGAR Australia and The Latch

17 January, 2024

Sangeeta Kocharekar Header

This week, Medianet is joined by Lifestyle Writer and Editor, Sangeeta Kocharekar - one of Medianet’s Top 3 most researched Journalists on the platform. Besides sharing her experiences thus far, Sangeeta has also shared the insights and philosophies she’s acquired throughout her journalism career.


SangeetaCan you tell me a bit about your initial experience in the media industry and what drew you into a career in lifestyle and pop-culture journalism?

I’ll share my whole story as I personally love getting a peek into people’s career journeys.

I grew up in the US and came to Sydney on a Uni exchange. I loved the lifestyle here so came back and did my Masters (in PR actually). Then I knew I wanted to stay in Australia, so I got sponsored working for an experiential marketing company called Polite in Public. I loved journalism even back then, but it was so hard to get a job in it that would sponsor me.

When I finally got permanent residency, I was so ready to dive into journalism. I got an unpaid internship at MTV and enrolled in two classes in journalism at UTS. Eventually, I landed a paid role at Daily Mail Australia. Since then, I’ve worked at Nova Entertainment, Junkee and News Corp.

When I was 30, I lived out of a suitcase as I travelled the world, trying to figure out where I should base myself and what I wanted to do with my career. This got me into travel writing, which I’m fortunate enough to still be doing in part today on The Latch. During that time, I cold-emailed Amanda Bardas. She’s Val Morgan Digital’s (VMD) publisher now but was working elsewhere at the time. We’d stayed in touch and when a role became available at VMD, we reconnected and I interviewed for it.


As a Lifestyle Writer and Editor, what has been the most memorable experience of your career thus far?

Oh gosh, so many incredible experiences! Most recently, finding out I was among the three most searched-for journalists on Medianet was pretty memorable.

Landing the role at VMD was also incredibly special, as I knew I’d be writing about all the topics I loved. Mainly travel, interiors, fashion and beauty. I’d also wanted to work with Amanda for years and had heard great things so I was excited to join the team.

I’ve been on some amazing famils (familiarisation) too, which are always pinch-me moments. You’re seeing beautiful locations, having your whole stay planned for you and getting to meet other journalists and see the way they work. This year, I went to Japan, Vietnam, Vanuatu and all over Australia, including Uluru with GoPro. I also went on Australia’s first Disney cruise and was allowed to bring two friends – it was so nice to have that experience with them.


Working for publications like POPSUGAR and The Latch, a lot of brands and companies must reach out to you. Are there ever any conflicts of interest with regards to stating your honest opinion when it comes to writing about these products and/or experiences? How do you deal with those situations when they arise?

Good question! There definitely are conflicts of interest, which is why if I’m given a product or experience to try by a PR, I never call it a “review” because I haven’t paid to try it myself. I view it as just sharing my experience with it, not judging it completely impartially. I try not to gush about something unless I genuinely love it and am telling all my friends about it. I probably did that when I was more of a junior writer as that’s what I thought was expected. Now, I try to include all the practical information someone would want to know. Is it difficult to set up? Do I use it often? Do I think it’s worth its price tag? I always think when I’m writing – what would I want to know about this? What am I telling my friends? I share all the information I think is important to know and then let the reader be the judge.


In the age of YouTube and TikTok, lifestyle content seems to be monopolised by individual influencers and to take place in a video medium. How has your perception/role changed in the advent of this? 

At VMD, we have a growing social team (many of whom came over when we signed a partnership with Buzzfeed and Tasty earlier this year), so more and more, we’re working on flipping digital stories into social video, doing a video to complement a story or creating original social-only content. 

For instance, I did a pet-friendly Sydney staycation and wrote about the experience for The Latch, but then also shared a clip of the experience to Instagram and TikTok. 

More and more, I’m also getting digital story ideas from TikTok. For instance, I saw a viral video on the best day of the year to book travel, so I built a story around that. I also did a piece recently rounding up all the Scandi homewares brands I’ve been seeing on TikTok. TikTok is a great resource. 

From a personal angle, I’m enjoying sharing the fun parts of my role, like famils and events, on my own TikTok. When I desperately wanted to get into lifestyle journalism, I would eat up any information on it I could find, so I’m trying to create the BTS content I wanted back then.


What perspectives and stories are you personally most interested in writing about/want your publications to feature more often? 

The Latch Lifestyle covers travel, food/drink, style/design and tech for a millennial audience, so I’d love to hear anything relevant to those sub-verticals. 

POPSUGAR Australia Lifestyle covers fashion, beauty, dating/relationships and interiors with an audience of Gen Z women. 


What would you say if you could go back 5 years and give yourself some career advice?

You might know this already, but anxiety is fear of the unknown. And no amount of anxiety is going to control the situation. Though, I do think that because I knew I had a lot working against me – no media connections in Aus and needing a sponsorship – I pushed myself to hustle that much more. Also, I’m glad I was gracious with writing feedback and was always open to suggestions on how to make my writing better. And that I did and continue to read all different types of writing.


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

I’ll start this by saying I love working with PRs – it makes my job of coming up with story ideas and sourcing information and expert commentary so much easier.

I glance over every single pitch email that comes through, as I think it can help you understand trends. I started getting a few emails about silent retreats, so I did a story on that trend. I also started noticing more and more group tours targeted at millennials, so I wrote about that.

I understand PRs need to send follow-up emails, but please know that I’ve at least glanced at the email, so if I haven’t gotten back to you, it’s probably not relevant to cover at the minute. I do always need more stories, so I’ve probably thought about how I might possibly make it work. I also really don’t like phone calls. I’ve taken my number off my signature so I always wonder how someone’s gotten it.

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

white arorw pointing upwards Top