Katie Harris

BA Media & Communications 2018, PGDipJ 2019

Journalist and podcast host, NZME

Katie Harris

Read Katie's 150th Alumni Showcase profile here

I read somewhere that you knew you wanted to be a journalist as soon as you started your BA in Media & Communications – can you talk to me about choosing that degree and the draw you had to journalism?

I saw that too but I think that might have been a miscommunication! I sort of fell into my degree because I actually started doing an LLB/BA but I got glandular fever two weeks in and I decided to drop the law papers until I felt better. I ended up doing one media and one politics paper, which I loved. I never went back to doing law and it was really through my media papers that I discovered journalism could be a potential career. I became more drawn to journalism as I neared my third year. That year I did a summer school journalism paper in the Czech Republic which I loved – so that was probably where I realised I really wanted to be a journalist.

At the end of last year, you co-founded the podcast In the Loop (with The NZ Herald) – what was the motivation behind the project and how did you get it off the ground?

My colleague Rosie Gordon and I started In the Loop because we felt young people weren’t being served as well as they could be with news content. My opinion is that young people are interested in news, it just needs to be presented in a way that interests young people. A lot of the stories we cover in the podcast are already out there, we just cover them in a more conversational way. Sadly, Rosie left NZME to start at RNZ a few weeks back, but I have a new co-host called Cheree Kinnear.

It is obvious that podcasts are making up a growing percentage of people’s daily news diets (The Detail for example, co-hosted by UC journalism alumnus, Emile Donovan) What has the response been like to In the Loop?

The response has been really positive, both within the media world and with our audience.

Do you have a favourite episode to date? Or has there been a topic that was harder to untangle and delve into?

My favourite episode so far was a bumper episode we did on the National Party’s leadership coup last year. But my favourite interviews have been with Helen Clark, who spoke to us about the global Covid response and Omicron, and Chloe Swarbrick who spoke about her ADHD.

Doom scrolling is something we are becoming more and more familiar with – how do you, as a journalist in the thick of it, create that balance between working hard and taking breaks?

I am a really strong advocate for taking breaks. For me, I usually go for a couple of walks around the block each day to clear my head or listen to a short meditation. When I first became a journalist I didn’t take enough breaks and ended up feeling really burnt out.

Any advice for current UC students aspiring to do what you do?

My advice for people wanting to get into this field is that doing internships, work experience and writing for a student magazine is really valuable, but maintaining a social life and strong friendships are also important. Having a wide and diverse contact book is so important, and you will be able to bring more story ideas to the table if you aren’t stuck in a bubble with people who think similarly to you. Take opportunities that are offered to you, work hard and if there is someone you look up to reach out to them. Lastly, and most importantly, your mental health should come first. No story, job, or course should come at the cost of your mental health. If you take a break now, it doesn’t mean you won’t succeed at your goals in the future.


Check out In The Loop now wherever on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.