Multi-award-winning journalist and Wiradjuri woman Rae Johnston will be joining the NITV news and current affairs team after recently departing as the editor at pop culture title Junkee. As the former co-host of NITV’s The Point and Rewired, Johnston officially joins the channel as on-air talent in the role of science and technology editor, in addition to multi-platform reporting. Johnston told Mediaweek about her history in journalism, the importance of NITV, and more about her new role on the channel.
Johnston said she began her journalism career about 10 years ago when reporting on and reviewing video games for Fox 8’s Save Point. “From there, I started writing about gaming for print publications who had previously never covered the topic – like Cosmopolitan. I started a regular gaming column in Core Magazine and eventually wound up at Techlife as the lifestyle editor – covering gaming, social media, and consumer technology in both print and online video.
“At the same time, I began making regular appearances on mainstream TV and radio shows like Today, The Project and triple j chatting video games and technology, which I continue to do to this day.”
In 2015, Johnston took on a journalist role at Gizmodo Australia with a focus on science and gaming. “Two years later, I was the editor. While at Gizmodo, I produced and hosted Static Podcast. In addition to Gizmodo, in 2016 I started regular tech and science segments on NITV’s The Point with Stan Grant, and in 2017 joined the show as a co-host.
“That same year I also began regularly hosting SBS’s The Feed and Small Business Secrets. In 2018, I co-hosted That Startup Show alongside Ben Law, as well as NITV’s children’s science program, Rewired. Late last year, I joined the team at Junkee as editor, launching a brand new gaming vertical for the site and establishing its tech coverage.”
Johnston officially begins her new role at NITV on Monday December 2. “The best way to describe the vibe of the channel is ‘it’s like coming home to a big, fun, passionate and hard-working family.”
Johnston said when she began her career, there was a real lack of reporting around the positive benefits of technology, particularly in mainstream media. “Video games, especially, were scaremonger fodder and I wanted to see them treated like any other form of entertainment. As my career evolved, I became focused on increasing the visibility of underrepresented people in STEM industries, which continue to have shockingly low levels of diversity.
“NITV gives a platform for the voices that need to be heard, talking about the issues that directly impact on them,” said Johnston. “It is unique, authentic and essential viewing for all Australians.”
Johnston said she will have the opportunity to look at a story, and really consider how it is best told. “Is this a podcast series? An online article? A TV news package? I’ll have the ability to utilise the skills I’ve developed over the course of my career to bring it to life in a way that will have the most impact.”
The team at NITV includes news presenter/producer Natalie Ahmat (Mudburra & Maluyligal Nations), head of digital editorial Jack Latimore (Biripi – Northern NSW), and executive editor, Indigenous news and current affairs Rhanna Collins (Palawa – Eagle Hawk Neck).
“We have a truly stellar team of award-winning journalists at NITV, a real mix of industry veterans and new talent. They’re doing incredible, life-changing, award-winning work – and they inspire me every day.”