Hannah Blackiston is a journalist and currently the acting editor at media and marketing trade publication Mumbrella. She has also written for Sky News, Nine, News Corp, and others.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a journalist, currently media and marketing trade publication Mumbrella’s acting editor, but previously I have written primarily real estate and finance content. I’ve worked for Sky News, Nine, News Corp and a number of trade publications in the real estate space.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days are quite chaotic, especially at the moment. We’re going through some changes at Mumbrella, which mean there’s a lot more admin and more meeting requests in my life than there usually would be!
Typically our days are spaced around our morning newsletter which goes out at 11am – we begin work at 8am and write to the 11am deadline. In the afternoon, it’s more features and interviews and preparing for the next morning.
We also release a weekly podcast which there needs to be content for, and we have two weekly specialist newsletters which need to be compiled and subbed.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We’ve been working remotely since March (as has most of the industry) due to COVID-19, but beyond a pandemic, there is usually some scope for remote working as a lot of what we do takes place on a laptop.
I love the flexibility of remote working and somewhere down the track it would be my dream to live regionally and not have to commute into an office on a daily, or weekly, basis.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance can be particularly difficult in the media industry – we’re not well known for having strict hours of work. Especially in the events space, which Mumbrella works in, it’s tough to ensure you get plenty of down time.
I am trying to be a lot stricter now about when I shut off my laptop and not checking emails or taking calls after hours – but there’s a long way to go and I hope in the next couple of years I’ll have achieved a slightly better balance.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I decided at the beginning of this year that I would make a concerted effort to love reading again – I was a big reader when I was younger, but in the last couple of years I’ve been lucky to read one or two books a year.
Now I read every night before I go to sleep and it helps me switch off my brain after work and not spend the night lying awake thinking about everything I have to do the next day.
It’s still a work in progress – some nights I’m too exhausted to look at words on a page – but I definitely notice a difference on the nights I do it!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Anyone who loves writing, reading or pop culture should listen to the podcast The High Low, I also love Worst Idea of All Time from NZ comedians Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt – they watch the same movie every week for a year and it’s fantastic content.
This year some of my favourite books have been Educated by Tara Westover, Grown Ups by Marian Keyes, My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.
I also strongly recommend signing up to Mumbrella’s daily newsletter if you’re a media nerd!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My iPhone is glued to my hand at all times, my dictaphone is never far away (I weirdly don’t trust my iPhone for that purpose) and we bought an air fryer this year that has firmly changed our lives. Everyone needs an air fryer.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Someone who runs a very big newsroom in digital or broadcast. As someone who runs a very small newsroom, I have no idea how you handle the added pressure of millions of people hanging on your every story.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
If this year has taught us anything it’s that life is too short to waste it all at work. I love what I do, and I’m very lucky to say that, but this year I’ve definitely learnt the power in saying no and switching off.
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