Interview: Adam Joseph, Marketing Writer


This is by far one the funniest interviews I have ever read. Adam has answered the questions in fabulous style - the responses are engaging and easy to read but at the same time add a great element of humour to them. He works for the Herald Sun as their Readership Director but has had an extensive career in newspapers. Funnily enough, I met Adam at the mUmBRELLA Question Time breakfast last week and he was just as pleasant in real life. Enjoy his interivew and I hope it gives you an insight into other areas of newspapers.

Could you tell us a little about your career trajectory?
I was born a long time ago in a tiny fishing hamlet in ... actually, no scrap that it's going to take far too long. How about this: graduated from university with a degree in social anthropology. Commenced a career in marketing. Moved into newspapers. Now specialise in marketing strategy and consumer insights.

Can you tell us more about your role as Readership Director at The Herald Sun?
It's a funny little job title. I'll let you into a secret - I made it up. In essence, my role is a senior marketing one charged with helping to make the entire business more "customer-centric". Our two main customers are readers and advertisers and so my role sees me working across all major business units. I head up all market research that we undertake at HWT, which ultimately fuels our strategic thinking and contributes to the strategic planning process. I just made all that up too, you like?!

You've worked in the newspaper industry for over 10 years, what makes you excited about it?
What excites me is that I'm half way through my life sentence and will soon be eligible to apply for parole. But seriously, the thing that excites me most is working with such strong brands which ultimately help to connect people - connecting them to their interests, connecting them to eachother and connecting them to the wider society. "Newsbrands" on all content platforms i.e. print, digital, mobile - will continue to play an important role in society for many decades to come.

What are some of the differences in the newspaper industry in the UK and Australia?
I think the Australian newspaper sector is in a much stronger position that the UK newspaper sector right now. In fact, I wrote an article recently on this and as a shameless self-publicist it would be inappropriate of me not to mention it here:

You have a column in B&T magazine, how do you find trying to think of ideas for your column? And what kind of response do you get from readers?
Great question. Inspiration for columns can come from all manner of different places. Things that make you laugh out loud or snort with anger are usually good places to start. Things you hear that send your bullshit-detector into DEFCON 1 status are good. And all the usual suspects - things you read in newspapers, conversations you have with people, conference speakers you heckle etc. Inspiration is a bit like perspiration - it can come from almost anywhere, given strenous enough exercise.

As for reader response to my columns, I'm really not sure - but I tell you what, I have both of their phone numbers so I'll call them up and get back to you if that's OK? If they're still talking to me that is ...

You have seen many journalists and writers in your time, what do you think makes a good one?
I'm not a journalist but I do enjoy writing - I'd probably describe myself as a "marketing writer". To your question, I think the profession of journalism is similar to the profession of marketing in that there are several different "segments" of the craft. These range from old-school investigative journalists, to opinion columnists, to feature and lifestyle journalists and so on. For me, a "good" journalist tells an engaging story with good illustrations and uses humour wherever possible.

What is your best advice for young people who want to go into the media industry? And may even want to branch out to the marketing side of things?
Go see a head doctor. No, my honest advice would be to study hard, network harder and try to get on the career ladder on any rung that you can within in the media sector, even if it's not your "dream job" or in fact anything like it. Then work really hard and do your best to get noticed. As for subsequently branching into marketing, I'd suggest joining the "Emerging Marketers" group which is part of the Australian Marketing Institute. And then go from there.

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