Q1. What’s the best part of your job?
Going deep on a story or issue. I have previously worked in news environments with weekly or daily deadlines, and obviously there is a critical role for that style of reporting - it can be exhilarating to get meaningful answers fast.
But I have also found that there is a unique joy in longform features, where you can really get a sense of a particular person, like Damon Kitney’s wonderful feature with Ben Wyatt in our February edition, or engage numerous experts on complex issues like cybersecurity or nature-based risk. I am very lucky to work with a team of writers who are skilled and passionate about this style of depth and thoroughness.
Q2. What skills have been the most useful in your work?
Iteration - As a team, it’s important we all feel able to contribute and give honest, constructive feedback on what will be engaging for the reader. There is a lot of creativity involved in building 8-10 page features, so we are practised in testing our ideas together with the aim of producing something powerful.
Digital platforms - Optimising our print content for the digital environment - searchability or social media engagement - is essential to surfacing all the work which goes into these large features and to reach people where they prefer to consume content. I also recognise that this is an area which needs genuine, continuous upskilling.
Data journalism - Years ago, I did a Walkley Foundation ‘Data Journalism’ course. Having some gentle confidence with a spreadsheet has been game-changing in business reporting research and fact-checking. I strongly recommend it.
Q3. Who or what in the media inspires you?
I have so much admiration for investigative reporters. The slow burn to develop trust with sources, to assure them that there will be care and consideration for their story is a brilliant skill and the results can be monumental.
The field is flush with excellence. For me, Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey’s work to break the Weinstein story for the New York Times (documented in their book ‘She Said’), John Carreyrou’s reporting on Theranos, and David Leser and my friend Natassia Chrysanthos’s Good Weekend expose ‘Sex, schoolkids and where it all goes wrong’ spring to mind.
Q4. What’s the most useful advice you’ve had?
In an interview, I asked Gina Cass-Gottlieb, first woman ACCC chair, about being a leader from a diverse background. Throughout her career as a corporate lawyer, she had previously remarked that she has often been the only woman in the room. I found her advice for navigating those situations so compelling and it certainly translates across sectors:
“The most important point is to hold yourself to account, that at every meeting you’re heard, which means being prepared, being confident…You can choose the manner in which you do it, the time and the point — but don’t allow yourself to be affected by the dynamics, because there can be dynamics in a room that are not easy, not well-known and not welcoming for a new person.
What a person of diversity brings is a focus that otherwise is not likely to be there — a critical point, which otherwise would be missed. And it achieves…broader insights and the likelihood of better decision-making. Over time, it also changes the mindset of the organisation you are contributing to.”
In media, a former editor at the magazine, Jane Southward, told me when I joined the Company Director team “Commission, commission, commission.” I think about that every day.
Q5. What are you looking forward to?
Treasury is currently consulting on potential mandatory climate reporting legislation. Its progress will likely be a significant inflection point for climate response and capabilities across Australian organisations, and a big milestone for us to cover.
More personally, I desperately want a dog and I finally live somewhere with some outdoor space. 2023 is the year!
About Steph D’Souza
Steph D’Souza is the Editor-in-Chief of Company Director magazine. She is an experienced journalist and editor, with a background in reporting at Thomson Reuters, and corporate content as Head of Communications at the listed non-bank lender, Plenti (ASX:PLT).