If you’ve ever wondered about the versatility of a degree in journalism, it’s time you met Emily Farquhar.
Farquhar, who’s 24 and from Nedlands, is a Curtin Journalism graduate who works for a global media company boasting 500 magazines and digital products, 100 radio stations on four continents and 200 million customers.
But since leaving university in 2018, she has never reported on a house fire, political scandal, court case or protest rally.
Not because she’s not capable but because she’s never been interested in so called ‘hard’ news.
Yet, by her own account, Farquhar’s journalism training at Curtin has helped her move to Brazil then England and now work at Bauer Media in London telling compelling stories and divining new ways to grow the business in the UK.
What do you call yourself these days? A journalist, brand marketer, content manager, affiliate manager … what are you?
(Laughs) I like to call myself a hybrid … between them all.
Straight out of Curtin, Farquhar moved pre-COVID to Brazil where she wrote and created content for Nannacay Creativehands, a self-described ‘social fashion project’ helping South American artisans develop their creative potential and connecting them with people prepared to help them.
‘In Brazil I began seeing the world from a different perspective,” she says.
“It made me realise how important it is to be able to network, understand and relate to consumers.”
By mid-2019, Farquhar had relocated to England and was freelancing for News Corp UK, helping produce high end video content for the web and social media sites of flagship outlets like The Times and The Sunday Times.
“I learned a lot watching the way businesses had to adapt their digital output during the COVID-19 lockdown and it made me realise the need to find alternative, perhaps more effective ways, to reach and connect with customers,” she says.
For all media organisations, the quest to find innovative ways to reach and grow audiences is the Holy Grail of sustainable business prosperity and Farquhar says her new employer, Bauer Media, is no different.
“The company has a motto ‘creating today what will be popular tomorrow’ and it’s really exciting to be part of a team that’s working to do that,” she says.
In her new role as an affiliate business development executive, she has sold and project managed campaigns across Bauer’s full portfolio with major brands such as eBay, Amazon, and Burberry.
Her work is varied. It includes researching and delivering product reviews and preparing extended feature pieces – all underpinned by the same J skills set she learned studying at Curtin.
“I think being able to write a decent story, being able to angle it correctly, being able to know what is a good idea … all these factors contribute to your work whether it’s in journalism, marketing, advertising, PR [because] all these different industries actually interrelate,” she says.
“Knowing how to share a good story and connect with customers is really important.”
From her experiences in London and observations of the media industry, Farquhar says it’s clear traditional journalism is changing very quickly and more media companies are developing profitable partnerships that promote goods and services through a combination of editorial content and marketing.
Although it’s a combination that makes old journalism diehards [like me] nervous, she is adamant it doesn’t involve sacrificing accuracy.
“Quite the opposite,” she insists. ‘Both being performance-based (audience-first, SEO-driven and trend-led), affiliate marketing is a synergy between the two and is centred around accuracy.”
Would you ever knowingly publish things about a product or a company you knew were untrue?
No. As someone who values a well-rounded review before purchasing any high-priced item online, I also know the importance of building brand loyalty and how easily this can be lost.
Farquhar says there have been many highlights so far in her fledgling career but a piece she wrote for Grazia in 2021 on behalf of brewers Heineken about the new addition to Formula One, the W Series, an all female single-seater racing championship, is one of her favourites.
“It’s a whole new area for Formula One and it’s a whole new way for women to be centre stage. To be able to go there, interview the drivers, you know meet the people who are behind it making it happen was an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget,” she says.
In 2022, pandemic notwithstanding, Farquhar hopes to further expand her skill set and consolidate her career in a media environment continuing to endure tectonic shifts.
“There are some amazing things happening at the moment and I’m very lucky to be in the situation where I’m working with some pretty cool clients across the board so I’m very happy.”