5 Minutes with Alex Choros

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


From Carly Rae to Opeth, WhistleOut Australia’s Alex Choros has ‘eclectic musical tastes’ sewn up in this week’s 5 Minutes. Read on for his music picks and so much more.
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I'm the Managing Editor of WhistleOut Australia. I make occasional contributions to our sister website Reviews.org, and write a weekly column for Gizmodo Australia and Lifehacker Australia.
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
Before ending up in tech journalism, I did a whole lot of freelance video work.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
A film editor or director. At the least, I've still got "editor" in my job title.
Which story or stories are you most proud of?
Given telco is our niche, I like being able to focus on stories other publications wouldn't necessarily cover. Last year amaysim acquired Jeenee Mobile, a telco that reinvested its profits into providing free or discounted phone plans to Australians living with disabilities, but promptly killed those initiatives. My piece focused on this, which wasn't an approach I saw taken elsewhere.
I was also pretty happy to break the story of Telstra no longer offering NBN 100 plans to customers not on FTTP or HFC, as it really makes the difference between "good NBN" and "bad NBN" abundantly clear.
And while it's not exactly profound journalism or anything, back in 2018, I made a dumb smart home face-off video where I asked HomePod and Amazon Echo to play weird sounding metal bands to see which one handled the requests better. I still can't believe my publisher Joe gave me the go ahead.
What's your secret superpower?
An uncanny ability to memorise phone and NBN plans, even if they're no longer available. I wish I could use that brain space for something more useful.
What are three top tips you can give PR pros for working with you effectively?
Try and understand what beats we cover before pitching. I'll still read most press releases even if they're not relevant just to keep up with what's happening, but follow up phone calls about why we haven't written about your camera or printer can get a little frustrating.
I always prefer an email or a text message to a phone call. Even Twitter DMs are fine during business hours.
If you're going to provide information ahead of embargo, a decent lead time is always appreciated. A press release sent out at 6pm ahead of a 12am embargo is almost always going to fall into the "too hard" basket.  A one-hour embargo is straight up cruel.
How do you like to start a PR relationship if you've never been in touch before?
Just a friendly email is typically your best bet. And if you happen to be around Crows Nest, I'm typically more than happy to make time to grab a quick coffee and chat in person. Well, when things are a little bit more normal.
What's the most important lesson you've learned about journalism?
Treat everyone with respect. This applies to colleagues, writers at other publications, PRs, sources, and subjects. The industry is small, you never know who you'll end up working with down the line.
How do you hunt for good stories?
Dig deep in CISes and fine print. Ask lots of questions.
What's been the biggest change in the industry over the past decade?
I've only been in tech journalism six years, but even in this time, it feels like the industry has shrunk. Smaller websites have disappeared. Larger websites are being run by fewer staff. It's a problematic shift; technology touches almost every facet of our lives, and the industry's cadence keeps increasing, but there are fewer journalists to cover these stories. 
What do you think is the most important issue facing the tech industry today?
Ethics. The ubiquity of tech means the industry is grappling with ethics in so many different ways right now. We're seeing so many conversations about whether Facebook and Twitter should delete Donald Trump's posts, equality, encryption, the internet as a human right, exploitation in the gig economy, and more. The tech giants are some of the most powerful companies in the world, and they need to be held to account for ethical short comings.
What's the biggest issue facing journalism?
Resources. I'm incredibly fortunate to not be the only full-time writer on my site, but that seems like a luxury in the tech space. There's an ever-increasing amount of news, but it's becoming harder and harder to keep up, let alone set time aside for a more in-depth investigation or a longer form feature.
Exclusives are everything. Discuss.
PR driven exclusives serve the brand in question more than your readers. It's always a thrill to come across a genuine scoop, however.
What do you wish you'd never have to explain to readers ever again?
5G isn't melting your mind, causing coronavirus, or killing the bees.
Name a recent story you wish you'd written.
Tegan Jones' piece on why SMS over Wi-Fi matters for those living in Rural Australia. It's an eye-opening read about the hardships those without proper coverage deal with, and many of us take for granted.
Who is the best journo in the industry and why?
Kara Swisher. She's a wonderful writer, a masterful interviewer, and incredibly switched on. Joanna Stern is a close second. Her video reviews are flat out amazing, and always explore consumer technology through a unique, creative lens.
Which industry publications, podcasts or other productions are on your unmissable list?
The Verge, WIRED, Engadget, and pretty much any Kara Swisher podcast.
How do you keep up with what your colleagues are writing?
For the most part, Twitter.
Which app has changed your life more than any other?
MSN Messenger. As a painfully shy kid in school, I found it a lot easier to talk to other kids over a computer, rather than in person. Not only did it help me build some social confidence, those chats formed or solidified several friendships that are now essentially lifelong.
Favourite screen-free hobbies?
When I'm not in front of a display, you'll find me in the kitchen, playing drums or guitar, on a hike, or in the middle of a moshpit.
What's your best party trick?
If I'm hosting, over catering.
What’s your go-to song at karaoke?
Call Me Maybe. But after enough beers, anything where I can work in a black metal rasp. I may have concerned a few colleagues with my rendition of Marilyn Manson's The Beautiful People at last year's WhistleOut Christmas party.
Favourite sporting moment?
Intentionally left blank.
Have you ever been said to resemble a famous person or character? If so, who?
I used to have glasses with blue lenses for scotopic sensitivity. Depending on the length of my hair at the time, I'd get heckles of "Elton!", "Ozzy!", or "Lennon!". While it was clearly always about the glasses and hair, in retrospect, it’s kinda funny that people thought slinging names of rock gods was meant to be demeaning. 
What's your favourite game of all time?
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Pretty sure I've replayed it more than any other game.
Name five discs you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island?
Baroness - Red Album
Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
Sleep - Dopesmoker
Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile
Opeth - Deliverance & Damnation
What was your favourite TV show of the 2010s?
It's so hard to pick. Twin Peaks: The Return and The Good Place were straight up incredible. Does Better Call Saul count, given it's not technically finished yet? 
What vices do you lean into when you're chasing a tight deadline?
A cheeky beverage. Most of my tradeshow coverage to date has been brought to you by a delicate balance of caffeine, alcohol, and adrenaline.
What's the most ridiculous buzzword in the industry?
"Powered by artificial intelligence." If there's no threat of it becoming sentient and enslaving humanity, is it really AI? Artificial intelligence is a fascinating field and machine learning is being used to achieve fantastic results when it comes to computational photography, but the term is thrown around a little too flippantly.
The PR fairy calls saying you can have the interview of your dreams. Who's it gonna be?
Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. If I can get my hands on a truth potion, Huawei's Richard Yu.

Membership privileges

  • Read and comment an all stories
  • Weekly digest of media and PR news (optional)
  • Post media releases to PRWire newswire
  • Advertise job vacancies
  • List your business in our PR directory

Please note that Influencing is used EXCLUSIVELY by media and influencers, as well as professionals who manage marketing and communications within their organisations, so we need a work email address.

More Media News

Ahern leads new STEM publication

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Ex-Cosmos Media CEO/co-founder Kylie Ahern has come forward with a new STEM newsletter called The Brilliant.

Scheduled for release every Thursdays, the publication is designed to educate the public on STEM-related matters, including profilers on leading researchers and new scientific advances. 

It will also support the advocacies of industry body STEM Matters, of which Ahern is the CEO. 

“There’s definitely a hunger from within the STEM sector, and from the wider community to hear from the experts and be inspired by the progress and results in meeting the biggest challenges that we face as a society. The Brilliant plugs that knowledge gap,” said Ahern.

The plan calls for The Brilliant to be published as a free newsletter, with paid advertisers to follow if readership grows.

Catching up with David Hague on the Australian Videocamera journey

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


David Hague is an industry stalwart and has been carving his own path with his Australian Videocamera website and e-magazine for a good long time now. We asked him a few questions to help catch us up on his approach and how the efforts have been going.
How long have you been running in this format now? How often has it been tweaked along the way?
About 7 years now. Major tweak was going from web only to jointly with an interactive approximately monthly PDF once I discovered how to embed video into a PDF as a streaming file (NOT an easy task!). Adobe tell me they have made this easier in the latest updates of InDesign and I am investigating this now.
We have also changed from the original monthly magazine template designed web hosting system to a flexible WordsPress one (3 years ago). We did a brief flirt with a name change to Film Video and Virtual Reality (and the website still reflects this behind the scenes) but it didn’t have the right “ring&rdq

Stock assumes Weekend Herald-Sun editor spot

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Melbourne Herald-Sun has appointed Dan Stock as its new weekends editor.

The remit calls for him to focus on celebrity profiles and new lifestyle material relatable to Victoria readers.

He has been with the paper for over six years, primarily as Victoria food and restaurant writer. 

He also contributes for Delicious.com.au.

Follow Stock on LinkedIn.

Kitchin opens new publishing firm

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Magazine editor Sido Kitchin is going forward with a new company called School Road Publishing (pictured).

The company is slated to produce four new titles in print and digital form starting October 2020. 

School Road will be Kitchin’s first major undertaking since wrapping up as editorial director of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, and Lucky Break when Bauer Media closed down its NZ division. 

Former Bauer Media ANZ CEO Stanley Dykzeul has agreed to be School Road’s new consultant.

“I know how much New Zealanders love magazines, taking them into their hearts and homes across generations. It’s a buoyant market for mags right now and in a COVID world, readers are relishing the comfort, connection and inspiration they bring. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to create fresh, new titles that will enhance Kiwi lives with 100 percent locally-generated content and I look forward to anno

In praise of sub-editors

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


Throughout my two decades in the media they’ve been under threat from tightening budgets and leadership that doesn’t much care for finesse work. So here’s a quick shout out to those unsung heroes of the industry – the sub-editors.
I’ve had a lucky run over the years to have worked with subs at Next Media, Allure Media, CBS Interactive, and ScienceAlert. That’s a pretty amazing run through an awful lot of my career – and through periods when subs were being dropped out of budgets all over the industry.
Like all the best support roles in this world, most people only notice a sub when they weren’t there to save an egregious error from being missed in plain sight. But a good sub can do so much more than just fix a few words and point out mistakes.
Subs can be guardians of style, champions of voice and flow, and trusted advisors when you really want to make a feature sing. What is missing? What needs more substa

Pezeshki joins Chattr

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Ariana Pezeshki has signed on with young-adult content platform Chattr as its sub-editor.

She had previously written for Happs and was recently a freelance reporter for Pacific Magazines.

Follow Pezeshki on LinkedIn.

5 minutes with Alex Walker

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Alex Walker joins Influencing this week for our latest 5 Minutes, with plenty of thoughts on his journey through journo land.
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I'm the editor of Kotaku Australia, and all my stuff appears on https://www.kotaku.com.au
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
I basically led all the gaming coverage for ABC Technology + Games, I've written for PC Powerplay, Cybershack, games.on.net when that was around. Main thing was doing a lot of esports coverage for the first decade of my career, but my job now requires me to be more of a generalist. Before that, I used to run a lot of esports -- just gaming in those days -- tournaments around Sydney, which was a great experience.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
An astronomer!
Which story or stories are you most proud of?
Writing about drugs in esports, an interview with my Discord impersonator, breaking local stories th

More News latest

Marchant introduces SME PR system
Haylie Marchant is lending PR support to SMEs.

Team Red dissolved
WPP AUNZ agency Team Red is disbanded.

The Mint Partners earns new accounts
The Mint Partners lands new accounts to work on.

OPR scores DocuSign account
OPR is taking on representation for DocuSign.

Nine shuts down Map and Page
The Map and Page PR agency is off on a new journey.