Roxanne Fitzgerald works as a reporter for the Katherine Times – one of the most remote newsrooms in the country. She attended the 2019 national conference under the Connector program.
Tell us about where you work? What is your typical day?
I work at the Katherine Times, in Katherine, NT – a newsroom of two editorial staff. A typical day starts with a phone call to my editor who lives 300km away in Darwin, the closest town. We discuss the previous day’s stories – what worked, what didn’t – and what we have planned for the day ahead. Then it is straight into interviewing sources, taking photos and writing stories. While we still have a weekly paper, our focus is on writing interesting, in-depth stories for the web.
How often do you connect with other women in media and how important is that to you?
I work in one of the most remote newsrooms in Australia. The nearest town is a 300km, a very straight drive away. Other than my editor who visits once every week or so, I rarely see another journalist.
While my editor has a wealth of knowledge after working 40 years in the industry, my world remains rather small and narrow in terms of outside perspective. I am extremely new to journalism, with just a year and a half under my belt, and still just beginning to explore the amazing ways we can make a difference to the world and the world of women. This has especially become apparent after the Women in Media conference.
Why did you apply for the Connector Program?
With just two people in the office producing copy it becomes especially hard to take time off. Couple this with living hundreds of kilometres from an airport and expensive flights, it would have been close to impossible to pull off a weekend away for the conference.
How would you describe the national conference?
The conference was an amazingly rich and educational two days of women lifting other women to be the best they could be. It was great to see the competitiveness of the outside world left at the door and the genuine welcoming nature.
What are your mind-blowing moments from the national conference?
Mind-blowing moments – meeting and having dinner with Caroline Jones and hearing from inspirational women who have been journalists for years.
What did you learn that you wish you’d known earlier in your career?
I didn’t quite understand how much power we had to shape conversations earlier in my career, but hearing from some of the journalists really opened my eyes to this.
What did you learn that will help you at work in the future?
It was helpful to see journalists who had been in the industry for years still felt – at times – held back by ‘imposter syndrome’. The notion that we all should be pushing through the fear and going for what we want was a confidence booster.
Was there a stand out idea or piece of advice from the conference you think everyone should know?
In light of the underrepresentation of women in the media, we should all be actively seeking out expert female voices to close the gap.
Would you recommend the national conference to a friend?
Absolutely. And I hope to be back next year.