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The Drill: CNET in Australia

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
How do Australia’s media teams run their daily and weekly routines to produce great work for their readers? And who are they trying to talk to? We’re back with another edition of The Drill to find out, this time around it’s CNET Editorial Director Mark Serrels with insights into the Australian operations.
Give us the elevator pitch for your title?
CNET is the world's number one tech site. Pretty solid pitch!
How would you describe the voice of your publication?
CNET has so many fantastic writers across multiple beats but I think the core of CNET is advice. Our tone comes from trying to deliver that advice effectively. 
Who is the audience your outlet reaches better than most?
It's a broad audience. CNET isn't as dialed into a specific audience as other tech sites. 
What’s the start of your daily office hours?
I usually start between 7 and 8 am. I'm a morning person and this helps me keep in contact with colleagues in the US.
Who else works with you locally - internal staff, freelance regulars or columnists?
CNET has a big global team, but my core team is a mix of full-time internal staff and permanent freelancers all working across different timezones. There are people in Australia, UK, and all over the US in my team. In Australia the squad is our Science Editor Jackson Ryan. Dan Van Boom handles a lot of day-to-day news, alongside video game coverage and a bunch of other stuff. Jen Bisset is our Entertainment Editor. Steph Panecasio is our sub-editor, but she regularly contributes to big editorial packages. Nicole Archer works on the global growth team and is the world's best tweeter.
Best and worst parts of the day or week in your publishing routine?
I really enjoy Monday morning. It's Sunday in the US so we have space to figure out our week, pick the right stories and make a strong, calculated impact. Later in the week it can feel as though we're waking up in the middle of a whirlwind. That sucks. Monday has a different feel.
Does the team work autonomously or do you have assignment routines?
It's really a mix. I like everyone on my team to have a pet project they're tinkering with – a big story, a concept, an editorial package – whilst also being tied into the weekly routine of what's happening right now. I'll assign stories if we're organising around a major event or product release, but I also think writers perform to the best of their abilities when they're working on something they're passionate about. I will often scream at DVB, Jackson or Jen to write a story when I spot it though! Usually their response is, "whatever Dad, I wrote that an hour ago".
What’s your primary internal communication tool?
I like Slack. I know not everyone likes Slack, but I like Slack. 
What tools do you use to manage story ideas and workflow?
Assign, brainstorm and organise in Asana. Write and edit in Google Docs.
How often does the team sit down face to face?
We used to have weekly meetings when we were in the office – on a Monday. We converted that to Zoom meetings in the beginning of the pandemic but early on I recognised Zoom exhaustion was sapping everyone's energy. I left people to their own devices after a month or two and replaced it with a quick "list check-in" on Slack every Monday. Essentially everyone drops in a bullet point list of their priorities for the week.
What’s your team’s favourite way to decompress together?
Do you accept pitches from freelancers? If yes, what kinds of stories?
Since I've been at CNET I've never published a story based on a pitch from a freelancer. Not saying it couldn't happen, but it'd have to be a pretty good pitch!
How often do you write stories in response to PR-led information?
I have done it. Not often, but  I can think of three off the top of my head and they have all these things in common:
- Genuinely cool proposition.
- Space for me to find my own angle and write what I was actually inspired by.
- Great access to interesting people.
I was really fond of all three stories. 
What's your favourite part of working for CNET?
When I started at CNET I loved having the space to write and publish premium, often multi-series long-form stories. I don't get to do that much these days. Now the thing that gets me up in the morning is helping the best young writers in Australia produce their best work. The team here is just off the charts. They inspire, challenge and push me every day.

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More Influencing|Tech

Wilson off to Crikey

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Cameron Wilson has started with Crikey as an associate editor.

He detailed in a tweet that he will cover various current affairs issues in Australia, ranging from politics to conspiracy and extremism.

Wilson was previously with the Pedestrian Group as reporter for Business Insider and Gizmodo. 

Follow Wilson on Twitter @CameronWilson.

SBS decommissions The World Game

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
SBS brand “The World Game” is being discontinued after a 20-year-run.

The network revealed that the websites of The World Game and Cycling Central will be closed down. All their content will be published on the SBS Sport website instead.

Established in 2001 by famed broadcaster Les Murray and former Socceroos captain, and coach Johnny Warren, The World Game was a six-hour Sunday sports show covering Australian and international football. 

The show brought nationwide attention to football and was at its peak in 2006 when Australia competed in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 32 years.

The live show was eventually cancelled and repurposed as a weekly livecast hosted by Lucy Zelic and David Basheer.

“The decision to retire The World Game website was not made lightly. A small number of roles will be impacted as a result of these changes. SBS is working closely with the employees directly affected,” a company representative said.

Caruana goes full-time with PR business Media-Wize

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Anthony Caruana has had a long stint as a freelance technology journalist, and has written across the gamut of industry publications. Always a freelancer, he also held long term roles with outlets including Lifehacker and Australian Macworld, and was the founding editor of Technology Decisions. His byline has popped up in pretty well every local outlet over the past 18 years.
In 2018 the start of a consultancy business, Media-Wize, was born and after two years of evolution Caruana recently decided it was time to hang up the press badge and focus on the new business.

We chatted to Anthony about the decision to end his journalistic career and his thoughts on the state of the industry in recent years.

How long has the shift been underway and what was the trigger for finally deciding it was time to go all in with the new business?

Kathryn, my co-founder and I, had the idea to create a media training consultancy at the end of 2018. But the decision to go all in, for me, really started to

Welsh signs on to AFL

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Sophie Welsh is coming to the AFL.

She hinted in a Tweet that a role at is already open for her, having also stepped down from the Melbourne Herald-Sun. 

Welsh was with the paper for almost three years, working up from an internship to digital producer. 

Follow Welsh on Twitter @Soph_Welsh.

Australian Community Media brings back regional printing

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Australian Community Media (ACM) will resume printing of publications in regional NSW, SA, and Queensland next week, reported Mumbrella.

ACM chief marketing officer Paul Tyrrell said specific titles in the three states have been marked to be back on the presses, but some websites may be decommissioned in light of lower ad revenues. The funding for the printing will come from the government’s Public Interest News Gathering program.

For NSW, the papers are The Armidale Express, Bellingen Courier-Sun, the Dungog Chronicle, and Wingham Chronicle. The Wingham Chronicle’s official website, however, will be incorporated into that of the Manning River Times. The Bellingen Courier-Sun website was recently shut down following the activation of a new northern NSW title, the Northern Rivers Review. 

The Goondiwindi Argus will be the only ACM title in Queensland to resume printing, as will the Coastal Leader and Flinders News in SA.

The ACM was forced to close down much of its print public

Queens of iHeartPodcast

By Elliott Richardson in Media News on
Technology podcast Queens of the Drone Age has signed a partnership with ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia.

The show, helmed by Australian journalists Rae Johnston, Tegan Jones, Angharad Yeo and Amanda Yeo covers tech news and opinions, launched in January 2021.

The iHeart Network approached the group following their second episode with the deal seeing the podcast now joining the iHeartPodcast stable and reaching wider audiences.

In a press release Amanda Yeo said she and her co-hosts were excited to join iHeart.

"We’re absolutely stoked to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. We were thrilled when iHeart approached us after our second episode dropped in January, and joining forces just seemed like a no-brainer!
“Our vision for Queens of the Drone Age has always been to make tech friendly, accessible, and fun. Tech is for everyone, and it’s been heart-warming to see so many people tuning in to geek out with us every week. Working with the iHeartPodcast Network will

2CA adds breakfast host

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Canberra station 2CA Forever Classics has tapped Jen Seyderhelm to join Paul “Holmsey” Holmes on the breakfast circuit, starting 19 April, reported Radioinfo. 

Holmes, who has been hosting the show on his own since 2018, said Seyderhelm joining the show took some time to negotiate. 

“Jen and I have talked about working together for a long time and at last it’s happening! Plus she knows more about most things than I do,” he said.

“Holmesy and I are great mates. I can't wait to wake up every morning as part of a station I love, with a team of not just colleagues but friends, and connecting with the people of the Capital and surrounds through fun, music and real local radio,” added Seyderhelm, who is a seasoned podcaster and has worked with Radio Canberra.

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