Kristin Alumni – News Presenter
To Kiwi journalist and former Kristin head boy Tom McRae (2000), journalism is about finding the human stories that exist at the heart of wider events and situations.
The Newshub Live presenter returned to New Zealand in 2016 to take on a new role within the TV3 news team. As a Newshub Live Presenter and Senior TV Reporter, Tom is learning the craft of presenting while continuing to draw on his ten years reporting experience. It’s a challenge that provides the best of both worlds, he says. “The job is split in two. I present [the 6pm bulletin] in the weekend and then spend three days a week as a general news reporter. I get to learn the craft of presenting, which is new and different, while also building on my experience as a reporter. It’s good fun.”
This exciting opportunity came on the back of a few big years for Tom who was TV3’s Sydney correspondent from 2013. During his time in Australia he has covered the Sydney siege, the Cricket World Cup Final and memorable Anzac commemorations. In 2015, he was called up with two-hours notice to travel to France to cover the Paris attacks – an experience he describes as incredible and surreal, and an important story to tell. However, looking back on his career to date, the stories that has stuck with him the most has been those of the Christchurch earthquakes.
“I was living in Christchurch at the time, working for TVNZ, so I was there right through the September and February quakes. Normally, as a reporter, you turn up to a story. You might be there for a week or two but eventually the story moves on, the country moves on, and so do you. But in Christchurch, we didn’t leave. The story was happening all around us and we were a part of the story.”
When asked what it is about the job that gets him up in the morning Tom says, “Every day is completely different. You’re going into the unknown and you never know where you’re going to end up… You get to meet so many people and see amazing things, and get paid for it! I can’t think of any other career where you get those opportunities. Of course, sometimes you have slow days – maybe you have to sit through an Auckland Council meeting, for example – but even then you get to interview the mayor and speak to the people who are shaping the city. It is a privilege that a lot of other people just don’t get.”
The world of journalism and media is undergoing such rapid change that it becomes impossible to know what is over the horizon. For Tom, that’s no concern. Right now, he plans to focus on his role, develop his skills and learn as much from the opportunity as he can.
Tom was our guest speaker at our Kristin Family and Friends (KFF) City Meeting in 2017 where he spoke to the rapid changes taking place within the media industry and the need for today’s students to be nimble, creative and resilient in the face of a fast-changing media landscape – both as the makers as well as the consumers of media content. To view his talk visit: https://vimeo.com/230686411