TVNZ’s Katie Bradford is a familiar face on our television screens as a political reporter for 1News.
Her job involves telling the country what is happening in New Zealand politics, usually from the Beehive.
“That means interviewing politicians and sometimes that means chasing them down corridors when they don’t want to talk to us!”
Katie puts together stories for the various news bulletins, including those for Breakfast, Midday, and the 6pm and late news. She does live crosses – going live on air at various times of the day to break down and analyse the news of the day. Katie also files stories and takes photos for the 1News website and updates social media.
The 34-year-old has always had her sights set on a career in journalism.
“From about the age of 12 I wanted to be a journalist and started writing for school magazines, local newspapers and visiting TV studios whenever I could,” says Katie.
She studied history, politics, and film, television and media studies at the University of Auckland and then went on to complete a graduate diploma in journalism at AUT.
“I have to admit, history is my first love but politics is so tied in with it that it felt like a natural progression to study those and then become a journalist!”
Katie started out in print journalism, working in newspapers, but soon transitioned to radio and then television. She says she has always looked up to strong female journalists across all media – Kim Hill, Kathryn Ryan, Linda Clark and Kerre Woodham are among her role models.
“I think all mediums have their pros and cons and the media industry these days means we all do a bit of everything!”
Indeed, no two days are ever the same and Katie says she needs to be prepared for anything.
“I can be expecting to be working on one story and then all of a sudden the Prime Minister resigns, or an earthquake happens and everything changes in a second. People are very used to me having to cancel appointments at the last minute because of this!”
She loves getting behind the scenes and experiencing what other people don’t get to see – and then trying to translate that into a way the general public can understand.
There is a downside to being in the public eye, however.
“The worst part of the job has to be the harassment on social media. I’m trying to learn to rise above it and recognise the fact that these people are anonymous trolls who will never say that to my face – but sometimes it’s not easy.”
Fortunately the good outweighs the bad and Katie relishes the opportunity to tell people’s stories.
“It sounds cheesy but it’s incredible the access we journalists get into people’s lives. When something bad – or good – happens, or someone is in a tough situation, they often want their story told. To have a 90-year-old woman welcome me into her home because she can’t afford power that winter is an honour.
“We can’t do our job; we can’t tell people what’s happening in this country if people don’t share their stories and I feel very lucky and privileged to be able to do that. I want to keep doing that – the day I don’t feel moved or pushed to tell these stories is the day I will change careers!”