A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Fiona Connolly
  • Name Fiona Connolly
  • Company Woman's Day
  • Position Editor-in-Chief
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 25/2/2016
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    In my final year of studying Communications at The University of Canberra, I was awarded a one-week work experience position at News Ltd's National Bureau in the press gallery at Parliament House. Despite my complete lack of interest in politics, I somehow turned that week into a full-time job as the bureau's copy kid, where between delivery of faxes and press releases to some of the most talented journos I have ever encountered, my main concern was Friday evening wine and cheese nights. I excelled in this department and gained enough friends to recommend me for a cadetship at The Daily Telegraph and so said farewell to the nation's capital.

    In Sydney, I covered everything from the engineering section on The Australian to police, courts, sports, wedding pages and TV guides. The editor at the time realised I had a particular love of socialising and so put me on to Sydney Confidential, where within a year I became editor of the section. After five years, I was elevated to media editor, then joined the backbench as a senior editor of the paper and opinion editor responsible for all the Tele's columnists and contributors.
    After 12 rewarding years with News Ltd, I was poached by ACP to edit Woman's Day, and have loved every minute of my seven years since that day.
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    Absolutely everything! I love the fast pace, adrenalin-fuelled deadlines, quick decision-making and creative thinking. I love the quirky, talented people I work with. I love competition, the combination of words and photos and design. I love the satisfaction of seeing every issue through to completion and onto trucks. I love getting inside the minds of Australian women and making sure they're entertained and inspired in a way that talks to them. Finally, it's a hell of a lot of fun. Not a day goes by where I don't have a proper belly laugh at some stage.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    A not-so-great sale!
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    I direct traffic -- all day. I am presented with ideas, photos, stories, layouts, headlines, legal issues, staffing problems etc. and I sort them out as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    I've had many priceless, glamorous and truly spoilt experiences over the years, but the best has been the experience itself!
  • Q
    What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?
    A
    Keep questioning whether what you are doing is what you truly love most. If you don't love it, you'll only go so far. Oh, and no matter how amazing you think you are, check your ego at the door.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    Somehow get through to me!
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    Email and run!
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    Through my editors, not via my inbox, which is vetted by my executive assistant anyway!
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    It has both helped and hindered. There has become too much of a reliance on social being a source of content, especially for younger journos. On the other hand, it is an invaluable source and tool for directing content between platforms.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    I'm a single mum with two little boys and a lot of deadlines in between, so I have to be selective. I prefer to be at events where I know I can see as many of the people I need to see in one room -- from ad clients to my industry counterparts.
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    Five years is a lifetime for any industry in this age. What I do know is that while the media was, at first, slow to adapt to technological change, the industry has learned its lesson in catching up, and I am confident it will continue to adapt. There is money to be made from digitalisation of the media, and those businesses who do it smarter than the others will win out.
  • Q
    If you weren't an Editor, what would you be?
    A
    A psychologist or counsellor, probably specialising in women or family. I need to be surrounded by amazing people and hear their stories.