Introducing Laura Pitcher, a New York city based journalist. We chatted with Laura about her career as an internationally published journalist, sharing her inside tips on what journalism and media is really like.
Tell us about yourself… I’m a 23-year-old New Zealand journalist currently based in New York. My written work has been published internationally by VICE, i-D, Marie Claire, Decider, Capital Magazine and Remix. I like covering everything from social justice issues to vegan cowboy boot sneakers.
Describe your job in a nutshell… My job is essentially talking to people or researching things and sharing stories as accurately as possible. My pitches usually come to me in my day-to-day life and I basically get to hang out with people, get to know their story and then turn that into an article. It’s great.
On the top of your to-do list for tomorrow… Lots of researching for articles, transcribing an interview I did last night and then writing up a few articles.
What are your qualifications… I first completed a Bachelor of Visual Communication at Massey University Wellington, because I had no idea I wanted to write and thought I wanted to be a designer. Once I realised I wanted to write, I did a Master of Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.
What interested you in journalism and media… I started interning at Capital Magazine as a design intern in my third year of university. I had always wanted to work for a magazine because that’s what all the “cool” girls do on TV. While interning, I realised that, while I love design, I really wanted to be writing the articles that I was laying out. I was lucky enough to have an editor that let me try and I haven’t looked back.
Where could this job take you… This job could take you into a range of places. If you wanted to stick with writing for online, you could either work your way up to being an editor or a staff writer for an online publication. Otherwise, you could go into producing documentaries or TV news, create your own column or focus on investigative journalism and focus your next few years on a huge breaking news item.
What has been the coolest opportunity you’ve had through work… I think the coolest opportunity I’ve had has just been to talk to so many people from all different backgrounds. Interviewing Raury, one of my favourite musicians, was really amazing, but I also feel that same way about everyone I interview. Whether it’s a fashion designer, artist, musician, author, spiritual healer, female pest exterminator or someone doing incredible work for the community, I’m lucky to talk to them all.
How did your degree prepare you for your role…. Both of my degrees were super hands-on and they allowed me the freedom to be creative with what I’m interested in. But journalism is really all about practising your craft, so you need to be doing outside work also. I went straight into a master’s degree in writing after learning the basics by just trying it.
Essential skills for your industry… Obviously a high level of English and grammar, along with researching skills and fast writing skills. But, equally as important is a crazy curiosity and having literally no shame in asking people to talk to you and finding sources. I also often take my own photos or videos too, so the Adobe Creative Suite comes in handy.
Describe your job as if you were trying to recruit new grads… I live the life of every glamorous writer you have ever seen on TV. Just with a smaller apartment, way worse clothes, cheaper food, less voluminous hair and no cute voice-over whilst I type from my windowsill.
What has your biggest achievement been at work so far… I really enjoyed working with the VICELAND Australia team on a series of short videos surrounding the New Zealand election. I was proud of how it turned out and how many viewpoints we got to hear.
You can follow Laura here, and read some highlights of her work – from cowboy sneakers, to the current relevance of the Handmaid’s Tale, and interviews about unlearning the homophobia you carry in yourself.
Interested in learning more about a career in journalism and media? Read more about a career in media.