Telum Talks To: Federico Magrin from Stuff
Interview

Telum Talks To: Federico Magrin from Stuff

Every day, we chase local scoops, try to find local angles to national stories or work with media teams of private companies and public institutions. My journalistic gut instinct is the compass I follow when pursuing a story.

Telum spoke to Federico Magrin about his day as a Regional News Reporter at Stuff and how his team decides which stories are worth pursuing.

Tell us about your day as a Regional News Reporter.
The day starts when the alarm goes off, and I check the news on my phone. Then the actual job starts after that. I work for a virtual team that covers six regions in New Zealand: Manawatū, Marlborough, South Canterbury, Southland, Taranaki, and Tasman. Most days, I will be working on a mix of local stories, assigned pieces, and long-read features. My work is flexible, and I get to do face-to-face interviews, as well as write copies from email, phone, and video interviews.

What makes reporting regional areas different from reporting metro cities?
We write stories for a mix of online audiences and newspaper readers, so our public is probably more laid back and less used to the craze of Auckland’s busy days. But, covering six regions means that I can spread my coverage. My team covers a population bigger than Christchurch and Wellington’s put together. So, overall, yes, I do write more stories about shearing records and rural farmers, but the drill is not so different.

How do you and your team decide which stories to pursue?
We have an Editor and a handful of news directors to whom we pitch our stories. They also assign stories to reporters. Every day, we chase local scoops, try to find local angles to national stories, or work with media teams of private companies and public institutions. My journalistic gut instinct is the compass I follow when pursuing a story.

What is the most memorable story you have covered in your career?
Last year, I investigated a fundamentalist church in Whanganui, the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). An Australian priest was accused of sexually abusing several altar boys in the early 2000s. He had been accused of doing the same in Gabon ten years before his superiors moved him to New Zealand.

It turned out to be a 14-month-long investigation, during which I interviewed survivors, former members of the extremist church, lawyers, an Australian psychologist, and fellow journalists across Africa, Europe, and Australia. The story helped victims to connect. There is now a pending settlement case against the priest, and another clergyman from the church is facing abuse allegations.

What would your ideal story pitch look like?
I am intrigued by stories that resonate with a local and national audience. I cover arts and culture, breaking news, social issues, and Taranaki stories on the ground. So, I am always keen to kōrero on those topics and areas.

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