What leading editors look for in student journalists

By Colleen Murrell

Colleen Murrell, a senior lecturer in the journalism department at Monash University, spent part of January and February this year interviewing media editors in Sydney, London and Paris about the coverage of terrorism.

At the end of her hour-long audio interviews, she switched on her iPhone and filmed some short answers to questions such as – ‘what skills or characteristics do you look for in student journalists?’

Check out these responses from editors at publications such as The Times, the ABC, Le Monde, and The Huffington Post.

The interviews were edited by Gerard Escaich i Folch, a journalism exchange student from Barcelona who has been at Monash University for the past year. The page was created and produced by Monash lecturer Julie Tullberg.

John Witherow, editor of The Times

John Witherow, has been a UK national newspaper editor since 1994, first of The Sunday Times and since 2013 of The Times. He spent his earliest years in Johannesburg and Melbourne, before returning to live in the UK. After attending the University of York, he got a job with the Reuters news agency, and was sent as a trainee to the Cardiff School of Journalism.


Gaven Morris, ABC director of news

Gaven Morris is the ABC’s director of news. Before joining the corporation, he had worked for CNN, Al-Jazeera, Network 10, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review and The Canberra Times. While at the ABC, Gaven has had a variety of roles as a producer, reporter and manager of news content.


Jérôme Fenoglio, editor-in-chief of Le Monde

Jérôme Fenoglio is the editor-in-chief of the French daily, Le Monde. Jérôme started his career as a sports journalist, gradually moving through different portfolios until he became editor in 2015. He plans to move the paper into a better digital space, while maintaining its reputation for great writing.

Daniel Fisher, BBC world newsgathering assignment edito

Daniel Fisher is the world newsgathering assignment editor at the BBC. Daniel is in charge of all the major deployments of BBC correspondents, producers and camera operators travelling to stories around the world. On November 13, 2015, when Paris experienced a number of terrorist attacks, Daniel was in charge of more than 100 BBC staff across France who broadcast constant news updates for numerous television, radio and online outlets.


Laurent Joffrin, co-editor of Libération

Laurent Joffrin is a co-editor of the French daily newspaper Libération, alongside Johan Hufnagel. In the past, Laurent has worked for the French news agency,  AFP, and the weekly news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur. He has also written many books on a wide range of topics.


Christopher Dore, editor of The Daily Telegraph

Christopher Dore is the editor of the Sydney-based tabloid, The Daily Telegraph. Originally from Brisbane, he was previously the editor of The Courier-Mail. Christopher thinks all journalists should concentrate on their writing as it is the main tool that you take with you through life. He said, ‘You have to captivate the reader and hold them.’


Alexandre Kara, national news director for France Télévisions

Alexandre Kara is the national news director for France Télévisions, which groups together two national public service broadcast channels and a suite of smaller channels. Previously Alexandre worked as a reporter for the French weekly news magazine Paris Match, and the national radio station Europe 1.


Mike Osborne, editor of Australian Associated Press (AAP)

Mike Osborne became the editor of the national news agency, Australian Associated Press (AAP) in 2008. Mike has worked for three decades for the company, working as a reporter and subeditor across sport, finance and news. He also worked as a foreign correspondent in Europe and China. 


Stephen Hull, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK

Stephen Hull is the editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK, In March 2017, he announced he was leaving to take up the post of head of digital at ITV News. Stephen started out as a journalist on a local newspaper The Reading Chronicle, before becoming head of content at Metro.co.uk


Pierre Haski, co-founder of Rue 89

Pierre Haski was the co-founder and until recently the editor of French online news website Rue 89. He is now working as a columnist for the French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur. Pierre has had distinguished career as a journalist, working first for the French news agency AFP, and then for the daily newspaper Libération, eventually becoming its deputy editor. He has written articles from around the world and been a foreign correspondent based in Johannesburg and Beijing.


Peter Clifton, editor-in-chief of the Press Association (PA)

Peter Clifton is the editor-in-chief of Britain’s national news agency, the Press Association (PA). Peter worked previously as the executive producer for MSN in the UK and was also the head of editorial development at BBC News. He played an important role in shifting the BBC into the digital age as it moved into multi-platforming. PA recently announced it would be opening a small office in Sydney.


Gary Jones, editor of The Sunday Mirror and The People

Gary Jones is the editor of British tabloid newspapers The Sunday Mirror and The People. He is also executive editor of both The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror. In the past, Gary worked as a senior journalist on the now defunct News of the World, where in 1995 he was named ‘Reporter of the Year.’


Christopher Dickey,  world news editor of The Daily Beast

Christopher Dickey is the world news editor of the online website The Daily Beast. Christopher is based in Paris, where he has spent the last couple of years reporting on European terrorism stories. He has been a foreign correspondent and regional editor working for Newsweek and The Washington Post in Latin America and the Middle East. Monash University’s Colleen Murrell caught up with him in Paris recently and the interview was broadcast in The Conversation’s ‘Speaking With’ podcast series