Rashell Habib, 30, is a Social Media Editor at news.com.au online. In the first edition of ETW’s Q&A, Rashell sat down with ETW reporter Naomi Tsvirko to discuss journalism, life and never giving up.
NAOMI: When and why did you begin writing?
RASHELL: I began working as a journalist in 2005 after getting an internship at a local newspaper. I had always wanted to write, I found it the truest source of truth.
NAOMI: When did you first consider yourself a journalist?
RASHELL: The first time was when I had written a story about a local art project that shone a light on domestic abuse. The artist sent me a beautiful note about the impact my article had on her and how she was truly grateful for the help in the cause.
NAOMI: What’s your favourite part of the job?
RASHELL: It has always been talking to people. Hearing their stories. I mean one day would consist of an interview with the Prime Minister, a tattoo artist and charity worker. Where else could you get that?
NAOMI: Do you think citizen journalism via social media is the future?
RASHELL: I think it is part of the future. I won’t pretend to know in certainty what the journalism landscape will look like in 20 years, but I will say that social media has expanded the news beyond traditional conduits. Essentially making everyone a news reporter.
NAOMI: Do you think the mainstream media is unfair to Middle Eastern Australians?
RASHELL: I think it’s a balance, like most cultural or minority groups that tend to make the media frequently. There are unfair report but there are also a lot of fair reports, that just don’t get read as much.
NAOMI: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your job?
RASHELL: I have to say when events such as Sydney Siege or MH70 occur and you live and breathe these tragedies as part of your job, it can wear you down mentally and emotionally.
NAOMI: What do you do to unwind in your spare time?
RASHELL: I love to run and I equally love to just go to dinner with family and friends and talk about nothing for hours on end.
NAOMI: What can you not live without?
RASHELL: It would have to be my family.
NAOMI: Tea or coffee?
RASHELL: Coffee- the journalists’ lifeline.
NAOMI: Flats or heels?
RASHELL: Flats- have you seen what heels do to a woman’s foot?
NAOMI: Speaking of shoes, can you tell us what a typical day in your shoes is like?
RASHELL: It starts at about 7am, I have scanned all social media channels and major news sites to see what the conversation is. I talk to the editors about what is coming up, I plan my social media channels around what would best suite each and what stories need to be pushed out. After a news meeting I also have a look at what stories I can write that would drive traffic and engagement.
Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists?
RASHELL: Write, blog, volunteer and have a strong voice in place before you enter a full time job. I was often told no to attempt to become a journalist, that Australian media wouldn’t accept ethnic writers, that it was too competitive, that it was too hard etc. I took each piece of advice on board and at the end of the day I made a decision to try. That’s all you can do, try. ☐