Conference Connector

Q&A with Marian Faa

Tips at the national conference have already improved my work.

Marian Faa works at ABC Cairns. She attended the 2019 national conference under the Connector program.

What is your typical day?

I’m a cross-platform news reporter for the ABC, based in Cairns. Covering a large area that encompasses many remote communities is one of the biggest challenges of my job, but also what makes it exciting. A typical day could be anything from reporting on sea-level rise in the Torres Strait to youth crime in the Cairns CBD. I file for radio every day and for TV and digital at least once a week.

How often do you connect with other women in media and how important is that to you?

Before I started full-time work as a journalist, people told me the media was a “cut throat” industry. In some ways, that’s true. But overwhelmingly, I’ve found myself surrounded by female (and some male) colleagues who are incredibly supportive.

The national conference had a sense of camaraderie. Photo: Photo: Monique Grisanti | Uneek Creative

Sometimes, I think this is the biggest “secret” of the industry. I work alongside intelligent, determined women who go above and beyond to help me grow. They do this while forging amazing career paths of their own. Connecting with women from different sectors of the media is very important to me. I hope I can give other the women the same support I’ve been lucky to get!

Why did you apply for the Connector Program?

The media can be a very tough industry to navigate. There’s no linear career path, which is exciting but also difficult when you’re a young journalist. I am very eager to learn from other women. Going to the conference gave me a sense of excitement about the possibilities – from freelancing, to academia, to podcasting and everything in between. It was also encouraging to meet so many women who’ve “made it” and genuinely love what they do.

How would you describe the national conference?

Amazing. The national conference went above and beyond my expectations. Everything down to the smallest detail – like the WiM logo printed on chocolate slice! – was thoughtful and reflected the spirit of Women in Media. It was great for networking. The sessions were interesting and relevant. And of course, it was loads of fun!

An edible version of Women in Media’s new logo. Photo: Monique Grisanti | Uneek Creative

What are your mind-blowing moments from the national conference?

Meeting Caroline Jones was the most “mind-blowing” moment for me. Caroline embodies values that I fear get lost, sometimes, in the fast-paced world of the media. Things like being respectful, kind and generous to others. It was encouraging to see a trailblazer like Caroline exuding these qualities. I’ve always thought of Caroline as a role model, but meeting her in person powerfully reaffirmed that.

What did you learn that you wish you’d known earlier in your career?

The final session, which taught us to “stop multi-tasking” struck a chord with me. Filing multiple stories across all platforms, it seems like my job is to multi-task. But having more awareness about how multi-tasking can affect productivity and the quality of your work has been helpful. I’ve started implementing strategies to reduce the amount of multi-tasking I do. I think this has improved the quality of my work and even my own mental health … I end each day feeling much calmer!

Bond University Assistant Professor Libby Sander on why you need to ‘declutter’ your brain. Photo: Monique Grisanti | Uneek Creative

What did you learn that will help you at work in the future?

Whoops! I jumped the gun and already answered this question. I also loved the “Podcasts That Pop” session with Caroline Graham. I’m quite new to radio but I love the medium and want to work in longform radio current affairs or podcast storytelling. It was nice to hear from Caro that you don’t need to be a radio veteran to make a podcast … you just need some basic equipment, a great story and determination!

Was there a stand out idea or piece of advice from the conference you think everyone should know?

The practice of ending each day by listing “three things that went well” is applicable across the board. Women can tend to be harsh on themselves and sometimes we forget to focus on our achievements, even the small ones.

Would you recommend the national conference to a friend?

Absolutely! If you have any questions about the conference or want to chat to a fellow WiM, feel free to get in touch via Twitter @marianfaa.

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