Digital Content Specialist, External Relations, Westpac NZ
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism
Her career has taken her all over the world and allowed her to meet interesting people, from celebrities to prime ministers, says AUT journalism alumna Jessica Satherley who has worked for media outlets like The Sun, The Mail Online, OK! Magazine and the Daily Mail in London, Sydney and New York.
“One day I’m photographing Jacinda Ardern at a business forum, and the next day I’m interviewing a small business owner or reviewing a five-star hotel. I’ve written travel articles that have taken me to Japan, Egypt and Mexico, but I’ve also found a great balance between adventure and stability in corporate communications. I love that each day is different and I work with a great team of other media specialists who keep me challenged.
“What I’m most proud of is achieving my childhood dream of working for an international newspaper in New York and travelling the world as a journalist. After having lived in London and New York for 10 years, I wanted to experience something completely different though, and I ended up moving to Morocco, North Africa, and started a small business. I lived there for almost three years, and published a book on my experiences there on Amazon earlier this year.”
After almost 14 years abroad, Jessica headed back to New Zealand in 2019 and now works in Westpac NZ’s social media team.
“Despite working for a financial institution, my job is very creative. I’m a writer and photographer for the bank’s external news website, REDnews, which covers consumer, business and lifestyle news. Sometimes I’m out of the office interviewing small businesses or profiling inspirational New Zealanders, or I could be at an event organised by Westpac to photograph key speakers; other days I’m in the office writing, pitching article ideas to my boss and having meetings within the bank.”
A passion for journalism
For Jessica it has always been clear that she wanted a career in journalism.
“I was 100% sure that I wanted to be a journalist and I came to AUT because I felt that AUT offered the best degree in New Zealand for this career. For me, the highlights of my studies were the very specific training opportunities like writing real news articles for local newspapers and having that hands-on experience right from the get go. I spent some time in Whakatane during my degree, finding local news stories, which can be more challenging in a small town than in a big city.
“One part of my degree that sparked my passion was law and ethics. I was very passionate about the legal implications of journalism, which ended up being important in my tabloid newspapers career and also now within a bank.”
Journalism has changed a lot since her days at university, she says.
“When I was studying journalism in 2005, the degree was based around print and newspaper journalism, which I loved. But after I graduated and moved to the UK, the industry soon changed and newspapers went digital. I was working in British tabloids from 2006 to 2016 in London and New York, and the industry went through major changes during that time. I ended up working for the online editions such as the Daily Mail Online in the UK and the US.”
Advice for other students
Jessica, who graduated from AUT in 2006, has some great advice for other students dreaming of a career in journalism.
“Get hands-on experience as soon as you can and take up as many opportunities as you can. Journalism is a competitive field and you have to make yourself stand out by having a portfolio of interesting work. A big part of the job is also pitching ideas, so make sure you’re always thinking outside the box to get your ideas heard.”
She also stresses the importance of networking.
“Networking is very important, and your network of contacts will be imperative to the work that you’ll get.”