Journalism, avoiding headline catastrophes and climbing the Sky Tower: Q&A with Managing Editor, Greg Roughan
This month we sat down for a chat with our Managing Editor, Greg Roughan.
We talked about his career in Journalism, what he enjoys most about working at Castleford and some interesting and funny moments he has had over the years.
1. What was it that originally attracted you to writing, or was your inspiration for taking it up?
I’d always wanted to write books, but there was a particular moment when I realised journalism was for me. It was after I left uni and I was speaking to the then editor of The Christchurch Press – the amazing Cate Brett. We were talking about a high-profile murder trial and I remember how she knew everyone involved – the prosecutor, the judge and so on.
She didn’t just know how the whole apparatus of the state worked – she knew the personalities that drove it in the background too. I decided then that if you wanted to understand how the world worked you should become a journalist.
2. What are some of the highlights of your career?
You get some braggable moments in travel writing – free trips to cool places. But one of my favourite experiences has to be climbing to the very tip of the Auckland Sky Tower for a story. I get to look at it every day and think, ‘Yep, I was up there. Bricking it.’
3. What do you like most about working at Castleford?
The positivity. Journalism has been tainted by this whole embattled sunset industry vibe. I love the buzz in this place.
4. You’ve been known to organise the odd poker game with other Castlefordians – do you consider yourself a bit of a card shark?
I suck at cards, but I love the banter.
5. What image do you have as your background screen?
It’s a photo of the whiteboard where I planned my 2017 objectives. Sad, huh?
6. Interviews can be a great way to generate original content for our clients. If you could interview anyone, who would it be?
Barack Obama. Big brain, so much insight. He’d have such a nuanced take on so many things. I reckon you could throw any question at him and you’d get an intriguing answer back.
7. What has been the most challenging thing to overcome so far in your role as Managing Editor?
Putting aside the need to be a ‘do-er’ in order to become a better manager. Getting stuck into a task you’re good at is reassuring, but it’s not always the best use of your time.
8. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in a workplace?
Two memories spring to mind here from previous jobs. The first is watching two colleagues who despised each other have their weekly meeting. One was a gay tattooed New York Jew, the other an uptight evangelical Aussie. The New Yorker had a bad back, so he’d conduct the whole meeting flat on the floor in the middle of the office while the Aussie had to stand above him, fuming.
The second was at The Sunday Star-Times newspaper. We were doing the front page late at night and the headline was ‘CLINT speaks out’ It wouldn’t fit and the graphic designer kept squishing it tighter and tighter. At the very last minute, someone realised the ‘L’ and the ‘I’ had joined up to make a ‘U’, and we all got the shakes realising how close we’d come to printing a c-bomb on 90,000 newspapers. The defamation suit doesn’t bear thinking about.
9. GIFs are a bit of an integral part of Castleford office culture/banter – do you have an all-time favourite?
I’m a big fan of the awkward gifs over at Nihilist Memes.
But typing cat still does it for me.
10. Rumour has it you’ve authored a novel… can you tell us about it?
My first novel was the worst thing I’ve ever done. I finished it out of bloody-mindedness. But number two will leave you speechless.