This month, Kate Sears put former Mount Martha resident and current Nine News Gold Coast reporter Maggie Raworth in the hot seat. Maggie, 26, speaks to us about her experiences being first on the scene and how her Post Graduate Degree — Graduate Diploma of Journalism at RMIT started it all.
How did you get to where you are now?
I was lucky enough to land my first job as a reporter in regional news, working for a regional television station. The role was in Toowoomba, Queensland. I didn’t know a single soul and Toowoomba is far from the beach, but still I jumped at the opportunity. While I was in Toowoomba I was asked to work for Nine News. I was so happy I nearly cried and called my dad straight away. Nine was starting a local news service and I was to come on as a journalist in Ballarat, Victoria. The Ballarat newsroom was small but extremely busy. I learnt a lot there. After about a year I received a call from my now boss asking if I wanted to join the Nine newsroom on the Gold Coast. It was a definite ‘yes!’ from me. I was missing the beach and eager to live in a city. I am now working with a team of about 40 people. It’s made up of journalists, camera operators, editors, producers and more. The Gold Coast often has lots of breaking news, so there’s plenty of opportunity to report on national stories.
Did you always dream of being an on-screen journalist?
I can honestly say I have always wanted to be a journalist. As a little girl I’d watch journalists like Mal Walden and Jo Hall in awe. When I ended up working with Jo Hall, I couldn’t help but feel a little star-struck.
What's been the most memorable day on the job?
Meeting people from a range of backgrounds makes it hard to narrow my most memorable day down to just one. From the happy to the sad to the serious to the absurd, I’ve seen a lot on the road. I’ve reported on a man who refused to come down from a tree. I’ve reported the emotional stories of those who survived traumatic sexual abuse at the hands of members of the Catholic Church. I’ve reported from the top of the tallest roller coaster on the Gold Coast and contributed greatly to the Australian Government changing a law. Each day you can expect something different.
What do you find the most challenging?
While I have wonderful days at work, equally there are bad days too. I’ve been first to arrive at some rather gruesome scenes. I’ve helped people put out their burning house; I’ve also held children back when houses couldn’t be saved. I’ve seen horrific fatal car crashes, some that have stayed with me. Witnessing such scenes though has led me to develop a stronger respect for our emergency services.
What's an average day look like for you?
An average day for me can be long. Right now I am training for a marathon, which means my alarm goes off at 4.30. After my morning run, I am reading the newspapers, listening to radio news reports, checking online news, social media and my emails, looking for potential stories. Usually, something has happened overnight; someone of interest might be in court or I have something I’ve been working on up my sleeve. Once I arrive to the newsroom I am assigned a camera operator for the day and we start the chase — making calls, locking in and picking up interviews before writing a script. My script is then developed into a news story. From the Today Show to the morning news to the afternoon news to our 6pm show, Nine News has a range of shows running all day. Depending on the story I may be required to do a live cross or write a story suitable for the timeslot. It’s a fast-paced job and usually a race against the clock to get the script in before deadline.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope I am still working as a journalist in 10 years. I love my job and feel it’s a great platform to generate change and help people.
Do you have advice for those aspiring to pursue the same career?
Work hard and be kind.
And finally, what's your favourite thing to do on the Mornington Peninsula?
My dad and brothers live in Mount Martha. Simply going out for brekky with my brothers or a long walk with my dad makes the trip from the Gold Coast worth it. For me, the Peninsula is home.