Melissa Wilson is a journalist and is currently the Executive Editor of the News Women’s Network at News Corp, where she works across Kidspot and news.com.au.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied at CSU in Bathurst, BA Comms majoring in broadcast journalism and minor in media production. During Uni I worked in the media department at the Australian Open tennis then my first full time job in the industry was reading the news on B 104.9FM in Albury.
I was bitten by the travel bug while I worked at the tennis and ended up moving to London to travel and further my media experience.
I worked for Universal Studios and Channel 4 (on the first ever season of Big Brother anywhere in the world) before moving to Dublin and a stint on the Tourist Board, Bord Failte’s, magazine ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’.
I moved back to Sydney and worked in TV production and hosting for Foxtel, Showtime and Channel TEN, before making the move into digital. I’ve been with News Corp for just over four years now and I’m currently the executive editor working across Kidspot and news.com.au – so no two days are the same, which I love.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I usually start my day by getting across the reports and insights from traffic the day before. What worked, what didn’t, and how can we shape our editorial strategy for that day off the back of those learnings. Try (!) to make a start on my inbox.
I often have podcast interviews and segments to record, and squeeze in meetings about commercial, SEO, video and marketing. As well as managing any staff or work flow issues.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
My work was always relatively flexible, but since COVID I have been working from home more. I recently started going back into the office two days a week, so I have two days at home and two days in the office which I think is the perfect split for me.
It allows me to do school and daycare pick up and drop off, and the chance to go for a run (if I get time). Then I get the benefit of the social interaction and face to face contact that’s sometimes needed at work to make sure we’re all working effectively and maximizing creativity.
There have been some silver linings to this situation we’re in and News Corp has adapted really quickly.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Oh the million dollar question! How do you achieve work life balance? I’m not sure if you ever achieve it to be honest, I feel like it’s a constant work in progress.
For me, I want my children to feel like I’m present when I’m at home, so I switch my phone on silent after work hours. I also don’t get email notifications on my phone which removes the temptation to check them constantly.
I try to make sure the time with the kids is quality time and I try to make sure work is not encroaching on that. Moving four days a week around a year ago really helped me feel like I was closer to getting that balance right.
I just strive to be a good mum, colleague, boss and if I feel like I’m doing all those things as well as I can, then I’m somewhere near achieving that balance.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have actually! Like a lot of people, the pandemic has really made me stop and take stock of what is important in life. It’s helped me slow down, appreciate the little things and stopped me feeling like I’ve got FOMO if I’m not cramming a million things into my calendar.
I got into a bad habit of drinking diet coke at work, so being at home put an end to that. I also started having a glass of wine with dinner each night once we started working from home, and now I’ve pulled that right back.
Around 12 weeks ago I started running again. I had knee surgery after snapping my ACL playing netball last year, so I started using the couch to five km app to get some cardio back and I’m now running around 6kms – when I started I struggled to run for 3 mins in one go!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Can I spruik my own podcast (ha!). We produced a true crime / real life story a couple of years ago called My Father The Murderer, the story of one of the reporters in my team. I’m incredibly proud of her bravery but also the production standards. It’s a must listen IMO.
I’ve just finished reading Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and it was riveting. It’s a non-fiction book and follows three different women and their relationship with sex and love. It was an emotional rollercoaster and so thought-provoking.
Also Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things is on my bedside table and I like reading one of her agony aunt letters when I’m in the mood. Some of them are quite heavy so I have to keep putting it down, but her responses are so insightful and she really challenges what I initially think my response to her reader’s questions would have been.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Right now I’d struggle without our array of steaming services given we’re at home a bit more than usual. I love my Fit Bit to keep the step count up and to keep me away from my phone, and the Couch to Five Km app was responsible for getting me running again.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I love hearing real-life stories from everyday mums and women.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work-life balance is different for everyone, so make sure you’re not comparing yourself to other people. If you’re a working parent, try to let go of the guilt because it’s such a wasted emotion.
Spend quality time with your kids and they will learn just as many lessons from you working as they will from you being at home. Don’t put your career first, you don’t want to retire and realise you haven’t nurtured the other parts of your life.
If you’re not happy at work or too exhausted to enjoy your personal life, something has to change. And you’re the one with the power to do that.
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