Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Vanessa Gibson, National News Director at Sports Entertainment Network (SEN)
The Medianet team recently had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Gibson of SEN about her new role as National News Director, sports media in Australia and the unique qualities of working in radio journalism. Vanessa’s new role sees her leading a team of radio journalists across the country delivering half-hourly bulletins every weekday from 6AM to 6PM.
Can you tell me a bit about your new role at SEN and what you are looking forward to most about this new position?
I've recently been appointed as National News Director at SEN, leading our team of radio journalists across Australia and New Zealand. We have a very passionate and experienced team at the moment, so I'm really looking forward to working with them to keep delivering a high-quality news service, as well as developing new talent.
Have you always wanted to work in radio broadcasting? How did this inform your decisions earlier in your career?
I have worked in radio since my very first journalism job out of uni, so it's very much been my passion since the start, right back to making a radio demo about my year 5 class news, and radio show mix tapes with my sister as a teenager! I love radio news for its immediacy, localism and connection to the listener. I enjoy the time management skills it requires, and the satisfaction of putting together an informative and well-balanced bulletin. I feel it's become a bit of a niche section of journalism, and a couple of times when I've decided to try out something else for a bit, I have never been able to stay away from it for very long!
What perspectives and stories are you most interested in hearing more about through your work and bringing to your listeners?
I feel very lucky to be at SEN in a sports media environment. Sport is such a connecting experience, especially here in Australia. While we as a news team cover all of the major non-sport topics of the day, I am especially interested in the topics that cross from the sports bulletin into the news, such as concussion, racism and sport contributing to society. Sport really has the ability to break down barriers and bring people together, and that's a perspective I love to bring to the airwaves.
In what ways do you feel that radio broadcasting is unique from other mediums in the industry? Are there any challenges or advantages that come with that?
Radio is so unique in its ability to bring news and information as it happens, in a way that's informative and relevant. Despite the rise of podcasts and other mediums, I do think radio still has a very important role in its immediacy and localism. But of course, there's challenges in the competition for people's time, so we need to ensure we are providing a really high-quality product that people will both listen to and come back to.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career to date?
Days like Queen Elizabeth's death last year definitely stand out because it's a moment in history that we are reflecting back to the listener. Days like that are challenging but very rewarding. Since being at SEN, I have loved covering some of the big sporting moments like Queensland winning the State of Origin, the Matildas' incredible run at the Women's World Cup, Australia retaining the Ashes and the successes of my beloved Brisbane Lions!
Is there any upcoming work from you or the team at SEN we should keep an eye out for?
If it's happening in news and sport, we'll be covering it! I'm really proud of what our team produces every day, which is news every 30 minutes from 6am - 6pm weekdays, as well as weekend mornings. A lot goes into the preparation, research, writing, compiling and presenting of each bulletin, but I think it's something we do very well at SEN and aspire to improve on.
And lastly, what do you and your team look for in content pitching?
We look for stories that are timely & succinct, and pitches that are clear and easy to understand and of course relevant to our sports-loving audience. Email is the preferred contact medium.