We've given the mic to the industry's future leaders. Adam Pearse, a multi-media sports journalist for The Northern Advocate, shares his thoughts on the media industry.
How did you get into media? What sparked your interest in getting into the industry?
I started studying journalism at Massey University but my first practical experience was as the regional editor for the university’s student magazine, Massive. As for my interest in the field, I’ve always admired people who know a little about a lot, people who have a deeper understanding of how society functions and the reasons why, so I felt journalism was a good path to help become one of those people.
Can you explain your career path so far?
After working for two years with the student magazine and graduating with a degree majoring in journalism, I completed Massey University’s one-year postgraduate journalism course in 2018 which led me to a work placement at the NZ Herald office in Auckland. From there, I was asked whether I wanted to interview for the sole sports reporting job with the Northern Advocate in Whangarei, which is where I have been since November, 2018.
What’s your favourite piece of work so far?
I have a lot of work which I’m proud of for different reasons. A lot of the work I do with the Northern Advocate might not mean a lot on a national scale but being able to give hyper-local content that Northlanders care about has been really satisfying. At the end of the day, if I can write something that will challenge those who need to be challenged and help those who need to be helped, I get a pretty good kick out of that.
What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?
Two things: not being able to please everybody and going up against people who don’t understand the job. Trying to cover everything sport-related that happens in Northland can get a bit busy and as much as I hate to say it, sometimes I just can’t get to a story and I have to pass on it.
The other challenge is coming up against some people who just don’t understand that I’m supposed to be an unbiased messenger of information, not your best friend or your worst enemy, something which can take some patience and a forced smile every now and again.
People say print is dying and media companies are changing up the way they fund journalism – how do you feel about the future?
I’m not much of a prophet but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention NZME’s recent premium launch when discussing this topic. However you feel about paying for your journalism, I know that it’s made me think about delivering a more ‘premium’ product.
I’ve always been a fan of long-form journalism which looks deeper at a topic than simply what’s on the surface so if paywalls and premium content will give us more of that, then I’m happy to reach a little further into the back pocket for my journalism.
What’s your advice you would give to those entering the industry?
Don’t get into the industry if you want the fame and glory of being one of today’s ‘celebrity’ journalists. If you want to be a journalist to get the awards and make yourself a household name, I feel like this takes away from the work you do. The most important work being done in journalism is by people who stay behind the scenes and let the work speak for itself.
Believing it’s your work that makes a difference rather than making yourself a familiar face or name is much more rewarding in my book.