Career Tips and Advice with Matt de Groot [Interview]

by Shelly Horton
Posted: December 15, 2016

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Many of you will be used to waking up to Matt de Groot’s dulcet tones as he reads the breakfast news on Nova 96.9. He has been working in the media for 12 years.

Not afraid of hard work, on top of his Nova job he’s also a regular panellist on Channel 7's The Morning Show and The Daily Edition, Channel 10's Studio 10, Sky News’ Sports Night and ABC’s Grandstand. 

He’s also the MC for the Qantas Wallabies and Sydney Sixers. He’s a White Ribbon and Barnados Ambassador. Plus he’s a regular guest lecturer at AFTRS, UTS and Macleay College. 

Here are 10 career tips and advice with Matt de Groot, interviewed by Journalist, TV Presenter, Lifestyle Commentator and Writing & Communications expert, Shelly Horton.

1.    What made you want to work in the media?

Matt de Groot head shot
Matt de Groot, Nova 96.9 Newsreader
Image supplied
 

My absolute love of a microphone. Really… at its base, that’s it. My original aim was to become an announcer on talkback radio, and the natural on-air opportunity starts via a newsroom. 

But once I got a taste of journo life, especially being ‘on the road’ – I realised there is absolutely nothing that compares to it. The thrill of the deadlines, people you meet, and stories you cover from the front line is remarkable. I was hooked. 

2.    What was your first job and what path led you to your present job?

My first job was as an announcer on a high-school community station in Coffs Harbour called (CHYFM). I started in year 8 and was terrible.

But I immediately fell in love with radio and knew broadcasting was all I wanted to do…Which was handy as it meant I could drop maths and science for the HSC, of which I was also terrrrrrible.

That allowed me to exclusively work towards a degree and early access to radio in Canberra. From there, one door led to the next and here we are.

3.    What do you love about your job?

Matt de Groot and John Farnham

Instagram: @mattdegroot_ / Image via instagram.com 
 

The rush of live broadcast is inimitable. It truly is. 

There are many other features – impacting people directly, influencing opinion, gaining notoriety, all of which carried an element of ego about it, sure, – but I believe that to be a healthy side-effect if applied correctly. 

Plus, Nova is a very enjoyable company to work for. They know how to have a good time.

4.    What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

There have been multiple instances where covering a story or providing an opinion has placed you in the centre of a story, be it positively or negatively. 

Learning to back your judgement, your opinion and your own values has been a challenge. Especially in the face of growing and immediate feedback (Twitter, etc)

5.    What do you think is the biggest misconception about people in the media?

That being on air means you are rich. 

And that everyone is agenda-driven. It’s my absolute experience that journalists set out to cover all stories as best they can, as earnestly as they can.

It’s also my experience that we are all broke AF!

6. Describe your typical workday.

Matt de Groot gives career tips and advice on Studio 10
Matt de Groot on Studio 10 with Sarah Harris, Joe Hilderbrand, Jessica Rowe and Ita Buttrose
Image supplied
  • Wake to a 4am alarm. Hit snooze about four times. Get out of bed. 
  • Arrive at work well ahead of the first bulletin at 6am, and assess the papers and overnight news of the world.
  • Coffee.
  • Enjoy the pure rush of 6-9am being on air every 15 minutes and working to deadlines – along with Nova’s unique desire to make my on-air life as degrading as possible.
  • More coffee. 
  • Sleep during the day. 
  • Events at night.
  • Bed.
  • Repeat.  

6.    What is your dream job?

Hosting The Today Show, hosting a talk show, hosting The Footy Show, calling rugby league, hosting a brekky radio show, hosting the Logies, hosting the Carols, Hosting the…

I’m like Jarryd Hayne… I have many dreams. 

7.    Do you think the industry is harder for women or men?

  • To crack through – men.
  • To stay in the game – women. 

Have a look across all the TV networks at their news services – the large bulk of reporters are women. There are more opportunities for women.

Similarly on radio - the industry is yearning for talented, fresh, funny females. I’ve already been told – if I was a woman, I would be on air. There is a large supply of males – and so a fresh, witty, talented female will be promoted much faster than men. 

BUT – you then look at the career length of the men and women who ‘make it’ – and although I don’t have figures, I would suggest there is a much higher turnover of female journos compared to the men.

Related: Discover the Australian Gender Equality Story here.

8.  Now that so much of the industry is online, do you believe it’s a case of adapt or die?

Yes. Although for many who are starting out or in the early stages this ‘adaptation’ will have been the norm from the start and so won’t seem as striking.

I think it’s important however to have as many income streams as possible now. 

9.  What advice would you give young people considering working in the media or in communications?

Matt de Groot in a suit on a ship

Instagram: @mattdegroot_ / Image via instagram.com 
 

ABSOLUTELY go for it. ABSOLUTELY. 

Don’t be scared by talk of contraction or fewer opportunities. There are always jobs if you work hard enough and are good enough.

It may be hard to crack – but use that to strengthen your resolve, and simply want it more than the next person.

The rewards of this industry are absolutely worth the effort.
 

What else do career experts have to say about finding a job after commencing your study? Find out here.

 

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Shelly Horton

Shelly Horton

Wonderfully authentic and real, Shelly Horton is a renowned, trusted voice in the area of pop culture, entertainment, women’s issues and health. Known for fronting up to uncomfortable conversations and never sitting on the fence, Shelly can be heard nationally every week with regular segments on Channel 9’s Today, Today Extra and Weekend Today. She’s interviewed everyone from Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian to the Dalai Lama.

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