Laura McAuliffe: from Macleay to Triple J’s Hack

Hatch reporter Blake Mannes interviews Laura McAuliffe. (Photo: Macleay)

From the lecture rooms of Macleay to the offices of the ABC, Laura McAuliffe has earnt her place as executive producer of Triple J Hack.

It’s a medium she finds the most intimate in news, and whether it’s spinning stories to appeal to her audience or conducting annual research surveys, she has made it her goal to assure young Australians are being informed on issues concerning them.

Returning to where it all started McAuliffe gave a guest lecturer to Macleay College, to share her advice with aspiring radio journalists and students breaking into the industry.

“Any good radio statement will know exactly who they’re pitching to. We stand out by knowing exactly who we’re pitching to and speaking to them in a tone and voice they live every day,” she said.

“Our audience is 18-24-year-olds. They probably enjoy the Triple J brand and not the ABC brand. We do an annual survey about what they’re interested in and how they feel about the big issues. From that, we know they want to be educated about the world and they don’t want to be told how to think.”

This comes with countless responsibilities which McAuliffe has to carry out in her work-life including producing a radio show, a podcast, several digital articles and social media posts each day.

“A day in my life is getting up, thinking about the audience of 18 to 24-year-olds, deciding what is interesting to know and whittling that down to things that we need to cover and whether they’re appropriate to be covered – including which platform to put them on because not everything is appropriate for radio.”

“I make decisions about how we will cover things, the most creative way… what voices we need, what talent we need, the way we present them, and then I assign reporters to roll those out. I sub everything, I edit everything, check everything and then I put it out into the world and watch the feedback,” she adds.

Laura McAuliffe speaks to Macleay College students about her radio career.

McAuliffe’s career has seen her stay at the ABC ever since interning while at Macleay. Through this, she worked her way up the ranks by putting her hand up for senior producer positions, management positions and podcast production, which finally landed her in the role of executive producer of Hack.

Whilst covering several topics each day on Hack, one of her most memorable pieces of work was securing an interview with David Attenborough which was rolled out to every platform available to the ABC.

“It was probably his most critical interview of our government on climate change which is our audience’s most cared about issue. It took a lot of work to get that interview, it was very difficult; we wrote a handwritten letter to get that interview,” she recounted.

Starting out as an intern, McAuliffe enjoys watching up-and-coming journalists kickstart their career at the ABC and she left some parting words to journalism students.

“I would encourage anyone going into journalism to find people that have been in the newsroom one day, one month or one year more than you and try to suck as much expertise as you can out of them. You can learn a lot on the job.”