Being a journalist can be terrifying, safe, fast-paced, or a slow churn to the end, a top news producer has told UTS journalism students.
Taylor Auerback, a producer for 7News Spotlight, said his work had allowed him to cover the most serious of stories and also have fun with the lighter side of news.
Reminiscing on some of his most impactful stories he told a workshop in the UTS Journalism Lab: “The disappearance of William Tyrrell, which I covered while at the Telegraph [was] one of the most gripping crimes. It was like a crime novel for me.”
More recently, he said his work on the Abdallah family tragedy, in which four children were hit and killed by a drunk driver as they went to the shop to get ice creams two years ago, had particularly affected him.
“The four kids who were killed in Oatlands, the Abdallah family, we made a documentary a month or two after the kids were killed,” he said. “Nothing ever affected me like that story. Sharing their story was amazing.
“Getting to know [the Abdallah family] and getting to meet their kids almost from beyond the grave, watching all those home movies, giving them a voice and introducing them to Australia, was both rewarding and incredibly sad.”
However, chasing the next big story can come with its own set of risks.
“We smuggled a phone into a Fiji prison to record an interview with a heroin smuggler. That was pretty dicey,” he says with a smile. “We were watching the guards march up and down outside.
I’ve gotten to see amazing parts of the world, and meet incredible people.
“And at the height of the war in Syria, doing some doorknocks on some families of terrorist suspects, getting chased out of suburbs… terrifying circumstances.”
But for all the serious and sometimes grim work he’s done Auerbach said the rush of uncovering stories and telling them to the public was its own reward.
Having previously worked at 7NEWS Sydney, Sunday Night, A Current Affair and The Daily Telegraph, Auerbach’s eight years as a professional journalist has given him a full breadth of experience.
“I’ve always chased the adrenaline rush; chasing stories, seeing your name on the front page… it was a great feeling,” he said.
“I’ve gotten to see amazing parts of the world, and meet incredible people… you don’t get that with other jobs.”
When asked about fun stories he had covered Auerbach was quick to recall one in particular.
“The Full Moon party in Thailand,” he said, without hesitation, of the notorious drunken beach party. “I got to cover that for the Telegraph – it was just amazing.
“There are moments when you just pinch yourself. Doing what I do, you get to travel and uncover so many stories.”
No matter what, Auerbach knows that it’ll always be something new. “I’m always looking for where the fun is, really,” he said. “I mean, journalism is a really fun profession.
“If you’re in it for the right reasons, all you’re ever chasing is the next big story.”