Sign in/sign up

Winterford: Trust is everything

By Philip Sim in Media News on
As Brett Winterford and Patrick Gray bemoaned the state of online tech news over a beer in a Byron Bay pub, Winterford admitted to Gray that he felt like he had contributed to the “problem” when he was last in media.
“I was having a beer with Pat and we just started talking about our disappointment with where online media had gone,” Winterford said. 
As reported at Influencing yesterday, Winterford has just joined Gray’s team with a remit to create written content targeting global policymakers in the cybersecurity space.
“I said to him that I felt like I had presided over some of the problems by being part of the generation that chased the clicks too hard,” he said.
During his stint as a journalist, Winterford achieved as much as any business technology hack might hope for. After a stint as a daily contributor on the AFR’s tech pages, he became editor-in-chief of the award-winning iTnews site.
Then in 2016, at the top of his game, he quit for a corporate gig at the Commonwealth Bank where new challenges, and no doubt, a bigger pay-packet lay before him. From there, he became a senior director at security vendor, Symantec, taking him on a journey from reporter, to user, to supplier.
As such, he has been afforded a unique insight into how journalism is created, consumed and acted upon, particularly within the infosec industry.
And his big takeout seems to be a recurring theme of trust.
“I think it’s way too easy to lose the trust of an audience by taking shortcuts,” he said, adding that he felt readers were becoming so sceptical, that there was a real desire to have transparency and understanding around the process that goes into reporting.
The weekly newsletter that will be Winterford’s primary ongoing output is to provide a  digest of hot infosec topics and stories, but it will be done in a way that puts the news under a microscope and analyses it not just for importance, but also for reliability and misinformation.
“[Our audience] cares very much about accuracy, so we’re going to exhibit real care for ensuring the information they’re getting is vetted,” he said. Given how important cybersecurity has become, journalists covering the sector have a real “duty of care” to get facts right, but that doesn’t always happen according to Winterford.
The weekly newsletter format is tried and tested, and Winterford believes it addresses the other major challenge for readers - the over-abundance of information.
“As a practitioner, the biggest challenge is the level of noise,” he said. Curation and pinpointing exactly what is ‘need to know’ would be critical to the newsletter’s success, he said.
Winterford said his experience as a consumer of media did reassure him that the work that journalists contributed was important.

“Tech media plays a huge role in helping organisations, not just around big purchasing decisions but also day to day things like patching,” he said.

“But because it plays such a huge role it’s so easy to disappoint and that’s a massive challenge for all of us because people are losing trust in all types of institutions and media is one of those,”
“I think the brands that are standing out now are the ones that doubled down on quality at the time that the rest of us were making compromises.”
Winterford’s new role is not reliant on any commercial success because it is being funded by the Hewlett Foundation, a philanthropic organisation started by HP co-founder Bill Hewlett and his family.
As such, Winterford isn’t going to find himself in a place where those compromises have to be made. And he admits that the unusual funding model was a key attraction to drawing him back into media. 
“I kept saying to Pat, ‘I just don’t know what the model is that works’ and that I would dive back into media if I knew what that model was,” Winterford said. That was when Gray spitballed the idea of partnering with the Hewlett Foundation.
Gray reckons that Winterford “might have been a bit sceptical I could make it happen”.
“I think he was thinking ‘That sounds like an awesome job’ but I don’t think he was really expecting it to materialise,” Gray said.
Winterford said he “wasn’t particularly desperate to come back to media, but it was all about finding the right job” and knowing firsthand the influence that had, together with the journalistic freedom the role afforded made the opportunity compelling.
“It already felt like Risky Business was a part of my life, because I listened to it every week and was well aware of the kind of people it introduces you to - we’re talking about some of the smartest people on the planet.”
Winterford said he enjoyed his role in the corporate land and noted the skills that make a good journalist translate very well to almost any corporate position.
“A journalist’s ability to build instant rapport with someone is pretty crucial when you’ve got to manage large complex change projects,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to win over the right people face to face.”
Advanced writing skills were also a valuable asset which he found when having to do things like compiling succinct reports for boards.
“Also, just being able to sell an idea. When you work in publishing, you’re basically selling ideas, you’re creating communities around an idea.”
He said he would need to rediscover the rhythm of publishing, but otherwise, he wasn’t expecting to reinvent the wheel, given’s loyal following.
“Really, this is a gift we’ve been given to try some different approaches. Ultimately, though, I’m very cautious about the fact that the audience loves the title exactly as it is, so I’ll be treading very lightly in a lot of ways.”

Membership privileges

  • Read and comment an all stories
  • Weekly digest of media and PR news (optional)
  • Post media releases to PRWire newswire
  • Advertise job vacancies
  • List your business in our PR directory

Please note that Influencing is used EXCLUSIVELY by media and influencers, as well as professionals who manage marketing and communications within their organisations, so we need a work email address.

More Media News

James to host 2SER breakfast show

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Sydney station 2SER 107.3FM’s breakfast show will have Alex James in the booth.

She was moved up to the post after months of doing substitute hostings for the show. 

James is already a familiar voice at 2SER having produced the Tuesday Daily for years, with one prominent show being the station’s 40th anniversary last year. 

Tune in to James on LinkedIn.

Hit WA appoints new breakfast hosts

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Hit Network has appointed Allan Aldworth and Michelle Anderson as the new hosts for its Hit WA breakfast show, effective 16 March 2020.

Aldworth recently finished hosting his own breakfast show at Hit Bunbury while Anderson is relocating from Brisbane, where she was at River 94.9.

The show will be syndicated on Hit 106.5 (Karratha), Hit 101.3 (Broome), Hit 91.7 (Port Hedland), Hit 96.5 (Geraldton), Hit 95.3 (Albany), Hit 95.7 (Bunbury), Hit 100.5 (Bridgetown), Hit 102.3 (Esperance), Hit 97.9 (Kalgoorlie), Hit 94.9 (Katanning), Hit 105.1 (Merredin), Hit 100.5 (Narrogin), and Hit 96.5 (Northam).

“There was clear chemistry between Allan and Michelle when we heard their first demo. This is going to be incredibly fun radio for WA,” said Hit WA content boss Tim Arnold.

Swan speaks on becoming The Australian’s tech editor

By Elliott Richardson in Media News on
David Swan will be looking to make the technology section of The Australian compulsive reading as he takes over from the departing Supratim Adhikari.
Swan paid tribute to his long-time editor and colleague Adhikari, who is moving to Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“He’s got a fantastic analytical mind which comes from covering tech for over a decade and I’ve learnt plenty from him. 
“He'd been there [The Australian] for five years, with me, in the tech sector and it felt like the right time for him to try something new. We'd also worked together at Technology Spectator, so it wasn't too much of a surprise when he announced that he was moving on,” Swan says.
His appointment as The Australian’s new tech editor was a fairly straightforward process with Swan saying he was happy to “throw his hat into the ring, or whatever cliche you’d like to use,” and that he had the back

3AW hires Ox and Marco for footy show

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Footy commentators David Schwarz and Mark Allen, AKA Ox and Marco, are coming to 3AW for the new AFL season.

The duo will go on-air from 5:30PM to 7:30PM every Saturday, which will be a lead-in to the weekend matches. They have not been working since Nine absorbed Macquarie Sports Radio late last year, which also claimed their drive show.

Schwarz and Allen’s signings are part of 3AW’s comprehensive AFL coverage. 

Gerard Healy is locked in for the Thursday-night games in Melbourne, while Tim Lane joins Bruce Eva on Friday nights. Daniel Haford, Mark Robinson, and Jimmy Bartel are up again for the Sunday pregame discussions.

Power 94.9 FM sets up new breakfast hosts

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Power 94.9FM has tapped Kaley-Jade Baker as a new co-host for Andy Sands on the breakfast show, reported Radio Today. 

Baker, formerly an associate producer at the ABC, stepped in as the station sought a replacement after Katie Fleming’s exit last November. Fleming was on the post following her Diploma in Radio graduation from AFTRS earlier in the year.

“We like to think of ourselves as fire and ice with Andy being cool, calm and collected and Kaley the firey, outspoken and outgoing one. As a first provincial radio gig for us both, we hope that in our time on this show, we’ll be able to grow as young broadcasters and set up the foundations for successful careers into the future,” the tandem said.

Atlassian Confirms Support of 2020 Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards

By Mike Woodcock in Media News on

Australian software giant Atlassian has today confirmed their support of the 2020 Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards (the Lizzies). 

Joining Name Sponsors Samsung AustraliaWatterson Communications,  Enex Testlab and Amazon Web Services, Atlassian's support ensures the 2020 Lizzies will be a night to remember.

Atlassian Head of APAC Communications, Louise Halloran, said: "We are thrilled to support such an important night for Australian technology journalism. These awards recognise journalists who have made outstanding contributions in the space ensuring Australians have an accurate and balanced understanding of technology, which we unashamedly believe is critical in shaping Australia’s future economy." 

We look forward to working with Louise Halloran and the rest of the Atlassian team to deliver a memorable evening.

Entries for the Lizzies are now closed; with finalists expected to

NZME reorganises shows

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NZME is entering the autumn 2020 season with some tweaks to its radio shows.

The network revealed that the comedy tandem of Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce will take over from Toni Street and Sam Wallace as the hosts of The Hits’ breakfast show this coming April. Street and Wallace are joining Jason Reeves in a new breakfast show at Coast.

Laura McGoldrick is slated to host a new call-in show at 3PM on The Hits. 

Radio Hauraki’s drive show has yet to reveal its new announcers. 

"NZME is home to the best radio talent in New Zealand. When you line up the new breakfast teams on Coast and The Hits with Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath on Hauraki, Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB and ZM's Fletch, Vaughan and Megan you have an incredible breakfast portfolio right across our radio networks, including Radio Sport and Flava," said NZME chief radio and commercial officer Wendy Palmer.

More News latest

We Are Different lands Berocca account deal
We are Different is now representing medicine brand Berocca.

Wunderman Thompson helps in NSW Rural Fire Service NYC ad
Wunderman Thompson and the NSW Rural Fire Service say “thank you” in New York City. ... Show more

Morey Media earns Carly account
Morey Media is representing car subscription service Carly.

New clients added to Sling and Stone list
Sling & Stone is engaging new clients.

Kate and Co back on Melbourne Fashion Week gig
Kate & Co PR is taking on the Melbourne Fashion Week anew.