Podcast Episode Transcription: Season 2, Episode 5

Leah Lambart: Welcome everyone to another CGA podcast. Today I’m looking forward to interviewing Nick Hose, an award-winning journalist with over a decade of experience in both the public and the private sector. Nick has worked as a journalist for over 6 years with the ABC, as a producer with WNYC Radio in New York, and is currently a journalist with the 7 Network.

Leah Lambart: It’s great to have you on the podcast, Nick.

Nick Hose: Thanks for having me, Leah.

Leah Lambart: Nick, can you tell us, I guess go back to the beginning and explain how you first came to choose journalism as a career path after Caulfield?

Nick Hose: Oh, that’s a great question. I think I always knew I wanted to be a journalist. One of my really good friends, Claire Costello, also went to Caulfield Grammar. We had a very friendly competitive relationship at school where we were both very much interested in media and journalism. I remember we were talking about whether we would study it at a university level, and I applied to do media studies at RMIT.

I remember I had the interview, and they asked me why I wanted to do media studies, and I looked at the interviewer and I said, “I actually don’t know.” He told me to come back in a couple of years when I was sure. At the time, I probably didn’t have the confidence yet, but that came with time. So, I went away and did an undergraduate degree at RMIT in a different subject. A few years later, I went back to AFTRS in Sydney, the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School. I was in my mid-twenties by then, and that was really the beginning of my career because I chose the right course and did really well. It was great for my confidence and self-esteem, and my career sort of started after that.

Leah Lambart: So, I understand that course included some film, television, and radio work. How did that course shape where you ended up afterward?

Nick Hose: Excellent question, Leah. It was so vocational, and that was really the key. I always did well in things that were very hands-on. We were making radio, writing blogs, learning how to build websites—all the skills needed for a career in journalism. It’s a multifaceted career with many different elements, like honing your writing, broadcast, and presentation skills. But I think the innate thing is knowing what’s a story and what the public will be interested in. For me, I honed that skill over time, but it was always an instinct to know what people might find interesting, and it served me well throughout my career.

Leah Lambart: Can you talk us through your career to date and some of the highlights along the way?

Nick Hose: Oh, wow. Okay. I love getting to talk about myself. I should pretend that I don’t, but I do. Thank you. Well, I was the first person in my year to get offered a job, and that was great for my self-esteem. It was in Darwin, and I had never been to the Northern Territory. All I knew was that they wanted to offer me a job as a weekday music announcer. It wasn’t the perfect job, but it was a job and a foothold into a very competitive industry, so I took it.

I set a challenge for myself because I didn’t know much about music, but it was a chance to be paid to be on air in a capital city. So, I moved to Darwin and tried to become a part of the town. As a journalist, your job is to reflect the community, so I learned about the local culture and trends. There were challenging and lonely days, but I loved my job. The promise I made to myself was to see what my potential was if I really tried.

Nick Hose: And I did. And so I moved back up to Darwin and I worked for local radio ABC, and I loved working at the ABC. It was a media organisation that I respected. I felt like, in a way, I had come home when I first started there. But I also realized that I didn’t want to work in radio anymore. All of a sudden, I was working for a company that had a lot of opportunity to move around and do different things. They were looking for a news journalist in Alice Springs, and I thought, okay, I’ve got to move to an even more remote place now.

I said, look, I’ve never worked as a news journalist before. I had a journalism postgraduate degree, but I had never really worked as a news journalist. They said, we’ll teach you. In some ways, the Northern Territory is one of the places where you can still just make the leap from radio to television, from a talk format to a news format. That was a great experience, and I loved Alice Springs. It was challenging at times because it’s so remote and very isolated, and the summers are brutal. But in terms of career, I mean, I got there, and there was a huge thirst at that time for Indigenous stories for the network. Alice Springs is really, you know, there are so many stories. I got sent to cover the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was a part of history.

Nick Hose: Getting to report every single day, I put my hand up to do live crosses into News Channel. I put my hand up to do talkback segments on ABC Radio around the country, to file local stories, and to immerse myself. Yet again, it’s that thing of immersing yourself in a culture, in a community, to be able to reflect that community.

Tragic things also happened in Alice Springs too. There was misadventure, people backpackers would go missing. And they were also big national stories, you know, and every single day you’d be out in the middle of the bush with no phone reception, just you and 20 cops and a search team, looking for these people. I remember driving back into reception, getting one or two bars as I got close to Alice Springs and immediately the network would be calling. Everybody wanted something. So, it was a great place to learn how to be a news journalist. It was, you know, you really get to do everything in those smaller regional stations and big news stories happen.

Leah Lambart: It’s interesting. I did a podcast interview with Maddie Clark recently. She’s come from radio production. We talked about how a lot of graduates end up going to regional country radio stations to get their first gig. She was fortunate to stay in Melbourne, and you went to Darwin, but it’s common for people to go to rural areas to get that first experience.

Nick Hose: Look, just to be clear, Leah, I did not want to go the first time. I loved living in Sydney. I had a fabulous life, friends, a great share house. I didn’t want to go, but I was ambitious. I knew that was what was being asked of me, and I could spend years hanging out in Sydney doing production work, but never quite making that breakthrough.

I knew if I went regional, I would get those opportunities. So, I would say to any young journalist, if you get offered an opportunity to go regional, take it and commit to it. Challenge yourself because you will learn and grow and acquire rare and valuable skills that people in the city will eventually want. You might find that you stay in that regional town. I know plenty of journalists who went to Darwin for a year or two and ended up staying. Some have gone on to different careers. You might find that you really like it.

Leah Lambart: So, you’re in Alice Springs and then do you return to the city, Sydney, after that? Take us to the next stage.

Nick Hose: Well, ABC Adelaide was keen to get me as a news journalist. I have always been guided by my instincts and tried to make mentors with more senior journalists. I got a lot of mentoring at the ABC, which I’m really grateful for. I would always say to look for those mentors, people you trust, like, and whose careers and work you respect. I was almost going to go to Adelaide, which felt like a natural progression from Alice Springs. Miraculously, the two news anchors at ABC Darwin both went on maternity leave at the same time.

I got a phone call from the Darwin news boss who said, do you want to come to Darwin and learn how to be a news presenter? I said, yes. So, I moved to Darwin for a third time. I was the weekend news presenter and the morning radio news reader. It was a very complex job. You had to get to work very early, be functional at 4 am, choose all the news stories of the day, rewrite things, and often just be a one-man band. You were doing it all on your own, in and out of the studio at the computer. I found news presenting to be a great and rare skill to learn, to put a 30-minute live TV bulletin to air from a studio. I loved it.

Leah Lambart: What have been some of the more challenging or difficult stories that you’ve covered in your career, Nick?

Nick Hose: I think, looking back, the German backpackers that died on a bushwalk was hard because nobody wants to see a tragic outcome. You become involved in the story, and you’re not supposed to, but a part of you has to care to be able to tell the story. It was a good lesson for me. You put yourself in their shoes and think, well, they just went out for a hike, and nobody thought it would end like that. That was an early sad story that stuck with me. More recently, COVID and the bushfires were hard. With the bushfires, you’re in a disaster zone, going into a town that’s been evacuated, and you’re on your own. Everything is burnt, and people are in trauma. With COVID, it was harder because, as journalists, we all lived it. We were covering a story every day while also worrying about our families. It’s hard to escape a story when you’re living it.

Leah Lambart: I can’t imagine. I think I noticed that you covered the Batlow bushfires. Is that correct?

Nick Hose: Yeah. I watched a lot of that footage because I grew up in Tumut, just down the road. Tumut is a beautiful part of the world. But one of my closest friends’ family home was lost in that fire. So, I was watching that very closely on Twitter, and the images were horrifying. I can’t imagine being there in the midst of that.

Leah Lambart: I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it.

Nick Hose: It was tough. There is a great spirit in Batlow. It’s a great community, and they came together to get through that. I remember watching the news in the Tumut Pub with all the RFS and the local community. They had the news on a big screen, and my story came up. The pub went silent, and they watched. The bloke in the story, Max, went back with me to see if his house was still standing, and it wasn’t. It was completely destroyed. He cried. He got really emotional on camera, and I felt this enormous sense of responsibility because I was there to tell their story. That was my job—to tell their story. I was sitting in a room with the very people the story was about. As the story ended, they all clapped and gave Max a hug and said, ‘Good on you, mate.’ That was a beautiful moment because I had told their story, and it belonged to them.

Leah Lambart: It allows them to get that story out, doesn’t it? Going back to the industry itself, from what I understand, it’s a pretty cutthroat industry. What are the biggest challenges for young people first starting out in the industry?

Nick Hose: It is a tough industry. If I’m completely honest, having a couple of really good friends who work in the industry and whom you can trust would really help you. Unfortunately, you can’t be friends with everybody in this industry. People will compete with you and be jealous of your success. You might find that others get opportunities ahead of you for arbitrary reasons. You have to have a strong sense of who you are and back yourself. Getting regional experience helps because you get opportunities that build your confidence. It is very competitive, so find mentors you trust, and peers you can talk to. I’ve got friends from the ABC in Darwin that I still call. Few people understand what the job is like. You need to balance pushiness with empathy and compassion. You must find the story that motivates people to tell it. Australians are often reluctant to go on camera, so finding that motivation is key.

Leah Lambart: You mentioned earlier the unpaid overtime in Darwin and New York. How did you balance that with personal life and relationships?

Nick Hose: It’s tough. My poor boyfriend at the time had to deal with me spending weekends reading for interviews. You don’t have to read the whole book, but I did because I cared. It’s about commitment. There were moments when I couldn’t participate in normal activities because I had to prepare.

It’s the same with unpaid overtime—if you love the job, it’s worth it. Finding a balance is challenging, but passion for the work helps. When I returned to Australia without a job, it was hard to find my place. I went back to Darwin to build on my experience. Eventually, I joined ABC Darwin as a local radio producer. I loved working at the ABC and realized I didn’t want to work in radio forever. They gave me opportunities to explore different roles. Moving to even more remote places like Alice Springs taught me a lot. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the community and reflect that in your work. Reporting on Indigenous stories and big national events was enriching.

Leah Lambart: After Alice Springs, you mentioned ABC Adelaide was interested. What happened next?

Nick Hose: ABC Adelaide wanted me as a news journalist, but the news anchors in Darwin went on maternity leave. I moved back to Darwin to become a weekend news presenter and morning radio news reader. It was a complex job, but I loved it. News presenting was a rare skill to learn, and it was a great opportunity. After that, I faced more challenging stories like the German backpackers’ tragedy and covering COVID and bushfires. COVID was particularly hard because we all lived through it while reporting on it. It was inescapable.

Leah Lambart: You’ve had an incredible journey. What’s next for you?

Nick Hose: I recently started at 7 Network, and I’m loving it. I thought it would be a mistake to stay at ABC for my whole career. Moving to commercial news was a leap, but I haven’t looked back. I’m getting great opportunities and am excited about where the journey at 7 will take me. I haven’t ruled out working overseas again or being a newsreader. I’m back in Sydney, which was always the plan, and I’m happy with where my career has taken me. It’s been a lot of hard work and dedication, but I’m proud of it. I still feel like that kid on the tram to RMIT, volunteering at the university radio station because I loved it.

Leah Lambart: Your story shows that hard work, initiative, passion, and sacrifices lead to success. Congratulations on your career in journalism. I’ve learned so much from talking to you, and I’m sure our listeners have as well. Thank you for taking the time to share your story, Nick.

Nick Hose: Thank you, Leah. The last bit of wisdom I’d like to share is to say yes to every opportunity because you never know where it will lead. Challenge yourself, and it will pay off. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story today.