A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Erin Van Der Meer
  • Name Erin Van Der Meer
  • Company Daily Mail Australia
  • Position Senior Showbusiness Reporter
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 26/6/2015
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    I got my start living every teenage girl's dream at DOLLY magazine. I applied for a features writer role, but the editor at the time Gemma Crisp offered me the online editor gig instead, telling me it was a smart move as the internet was the future... that was 2008 and as it turns out she was right! My career has been primarily digital ever since, going on to do online for CLEO, Shop Til You Drop and NW magazines before moving to Daily Mail Australia in January last year as a Showbusiness Reporter. Now I'm about to kick off a new chapter as a freelance writer focusing on travel as I explore Central and South America for the next 12 months.
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    It's been an incredible opportunity to work for a brand which is as massive globally as the Mail is. Such a privilege to learn the way they do things and how they've built this ridiculously addictive website loved by millions around the world. People often tell me how obsessed they are with the site - people from such different walks of life, from teenagers to lawyers. In terms of entertainment in general, the world of Hollywood and celebrities is such a weird and wonderful place, some of the stories that emerge you couldn't make it up. It's a lot of fun.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    It can be stressful when something breaks and we need to get it up ASAP. But that's all part of working in digital. You've got to love the adrenalin rush.
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    We start pretty early as is the norm with digital - I'm in the office at 7am. Then it's just a matter of finding the most interesting and fun showbiz stories about Australian celebrities to feed the insatiable appetite of Daily Mail readers. It might be new pap pictures we've received, something on social media, a funny or revealing line that comes out of a celebrity interview. The plus of starting early is that the day wraps up earlier too. I try to leave the office by 4pm.
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    A quote I got in a celebrity interview was picked up and run by all the major celebrity sites around the world. That was an exciting feeling. Going to the Logies this year and seeing it all unfold, and having so many big names in one place, was really fun. But telling the stories of non-famous Australians has been the most interesting work I've done. A feature I wrote about ice addiction for Cosmo magazine was eye-opening.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    They explain why what they're pitching really suits my publication. They provide information about imagery so I don't need to go back to them and ask, and then await their reply. It speeds things up.
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    It feels impersonal when the email says 'Hi Erin' and your name is in a different colour. Generic, mass emails are a necessity at times but it's better if it at least gives the illusion of being sent just to you!
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    Email, any time. I've often got breaking news I'm dealing with so phone calls are usually interrupting me when I'm really busy. Of course they're good every now and then to maintain a more personal relationship, but it's better if a PR asks a good time to call so we can talk properly, rather than when I'm in the middle of things and need to get off the phone.
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    So many celebrity stories emerge from social media now. Celebrities all have a phone in their hand and they give fans (and the media) a more personal look at their lives. I love it! Social media shares and likes also help us to learn which stories resonate with readers.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    As an entertainment journalist obviously I love events where a celebrity or personality is in attendance. It's great when the talent hasn't had their time over-booked so you can have a more in-depth conversation and both you and they feel more comfortable, as opposed to getting just a couple of minutes where you have to do rapid-fire questions.
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    Obviously digital continues to grow, you don't need a crystal ball to see that. Just in the past year or so Australia's online offering has improved hugely with our own versions of the Daily Mail, Buzzfeed and soon Huffington Post. I think the competition is good - it pushes us all to be better.
  • Q
    If you weren't a journalist, what would you be?
    A
    A full-time traveller! Er, until the bank balance dries up I guess. But thanks to the internet we're able to live more nomadic lifestyles, and my plan for the next year is to write freelance with no fixed address. All I need is my laptop and an internet connection (although I hear the latter isn't always reliable in Central America!) Please take that into account if I'm a bit slow replying to your emails as of July 14th! It's either that or because I've had one too many mojitos.
  • Q
    Your Instagram/Twitter:
    A
    @erinvandermeer