It was an opportunity to pick the brain of someone who had, literally, ‘been there, done that’ at the University of Wollongong.

Journalism students, Christy Koufos, Jasmin Gulaj, and Kyle Turner conducted an interview with ABC Illawarra drive producer and UOW journalism alumni Jake Cupitt. The interview was held as a part of a radio journalism class and discussed the highs and lows of having a job in the journalism and media industry. Cupitt discussed the difficulty of finding alternative angles, getting stories out before the deadline, and producing stories that want to be heard.

“Finding that fresh angle can be challenging and often the angle can be very obvious,” Mr Cupitt said.

Mr Cupitt told his audience how to mould the angle of your intended story. He said the crafting an engaging story relied on interviewing multiple people, understanding the subject, and research. 

“If you can understand what questions you are going to ask it can also help to figure out who you are going to talk to. You have to understand what questions the people want to have answered and how that dictates who you talk to,” he said

“A good example of that is the current interest rate environment that we are in so the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) has lifted interest rates 10 consecutive times and that’s causing a lot of financial pain for mortgage owners…you could do the straight angle of talking to an economist, you could talk to those people those whose lives are being impacted, so that’s mortgage owners, renters, and then you could talk to the politicians”. 

The interview consisted of many questions about the specifics of Cupitt’s job. Ms Koufos asked Mr Cupitt about his role as a producer and if finding people or stories was a part of the role. Mr Cupitt said job included all those responsibilities and he has about a five-hour 3pm deadline every day.

He said his role could be compared to aspects of university study. 

“There is a hard deadline in what I do. You have to be ready and often you can manipulate that deadline pressure…the university environment is helpful in understanding how to work towards a deadline,” Mr Cupitt said.

“I personally find that deadline quite motivating. I find that the fact that we have to get something out by a certain time, it just motivates me to make more phone calls, write more emails, do more reading.” 

Mr Cupitt said the need to find people who were willing to be interviewed was a challenge. 

“Be prepared for failure, be prepared to come up against a lot of resistance in what you do because the point of journalism is to ascertain the truth, to work towards finding out what’s really going on,” he said.

AUDIO: ABC Illawarra producer and UOW journalism alumni, Jake Cupitt offers his insights into the news media and passes on a few tips to UOW journalism students.