Spotlight on Channel 9 News Reader Paul Taylor
WORDS: Ocean Road Magazine Interview with : Paul Taylor PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
How did you get your start in TV journalism?
Working in Cairns as a radio journalist I was an enthusiastic follower of the QBL basketball because the radio station had a fully catered corporate box. Thinking I was a dedicated follower of the sport due to my almost religious attendance, local TV sports journo Jason Sintome (now himself a Gold Coaster) suggested I help him call the state grand final WIN was broadcasting. Soon after, Jason offered me his job as he was leaving for greener pastures. My first journalist job was a cadetship at Emerald radio station 4HI in 1988 which I got because a schoolmate’s girlfriend’s sister was told to find a replacement before she headed off for greener pastures. But that’s another story.
What are some of the biggest stories you’ve covered in your reporting career?
Being based in North Queensland for WIN News meant I saw my fair share of cyclones including Debbie, Marcia, Ita and Yasi. A memorable occasion was U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to Port Douglas in 1996; he said and did nothing of note and my news reports were nominal at best. But the amount of local, national and international media that descended on the tiny beach hamlet still astounds me.
In my first few hectic months on the job as a radio journo, I was chastised by my boss for “ripping and reading” (grabbing press releases off the fax and reading them as news stories). He told me to get out in the community and find my own stories. Thinking I was giving a right royal “up yours” to management I interviewed a little old lady who collected tea-towels. What I thought would be a bit of a joke turned out to be one of the most interesting stories I did, with the centenarian having a riveting anecdote for each and every tea-towel in her collection.
You’ve moved to the Gold Coast for this job, what do you enjoy most about the city?
The beach, the beach and the beach. For walking on, swimming in or sipping booze at. In the summer, the winter, autumn or spring, fine weather or foul, my wife Gina and I love it and find ourselves at it and in it all the time. The view from the office ain’t bad either.
How do you see the Gold Coast’s future, with all its growing pains and population growth?
Population growth and development are inevitable while we remain in one of the greatest places in the world to live. We will continue to expand. Affordable quality housing is an urgent priority. We must look after each other. Get that right and we will continue to be Australia’s most liveable city (and if we’re not we should be!). On this point can I say that I think the G Link is an asset to us as a tourist destination.
What are your favourite parts of being a newsreader?
I love deadlines, especially the noise they make as they whizz by … a great saying about the job I’m in. Every day we chase the clock. It is a deadline-driven industry and that makes every day exciting and challenging.
I respect the role of being the bearer of news, both good and bad. I enjoy hearing other people’s stories and knowing I can help tell them. The calibre of people I work with is also incredible…from the grumpy veteran camera operators to the whip-smart young journos and everyone in between. Ours is not an industry for the faint-hearted or the thin-skinned, and I love it.
While I’m at it – the power of TV is incredible. Take a walk around your suburb at 5:30 and count the number of televisions tuned to Nine News. It’s breathtaking to think that this boofhead appears in so many Gold Coast living rooms every weeknight.
You would have seen enormous changes in the way news is covered? Take us through those changes.
When I started in the late 1990’s the phone book was your main reference tool. Today, whether they want to admit it or not, Google would be the first weapon in most journos’ arsenal and, ever increasingly so, social media. Then it’s all about verification. The Andy Warhol attributed quote about everyone getting 15 minutes of fame has never been more apt. For us as journos that means we can often find the good, the bad and the ugly on Facebook, Insta or TikTok, and often proudly boasting about their exploits. What a world!
When I first started in TV in 1997 it was a no-no to use “phone vision”. Nowadays many of our most exciting stories come via the mobile phones of eyewitnesses.
What’s a typical weekend look like now for the Taylor family?
We try to visit our 29yr old daughter in Melbourne and 27yr old son in Maroochydore every other month. When that’s not on, my wife Gina and I often kick off the weekend with a Friday night beer at the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club, bookended by a Sunday arvo stroll down to Broadbeach for dumplings and beer at Harajuku Gyoza. In between there’s always a dog walk or five, a Saturday night cook-up, a swim and a drive in our newly acquired ’73 Mustang (if it starts). I also wait for the next Shane Maloney novel.
Describe yourself in one word.
Any regrets during your career?
Regrets? Far from it! I am extremely privileged. Mind you, an overseas posting would have been nice.
What advice would you give the 20-year-old Paul Taylor?
- Don’t buy those pink and black boardshorts, and the peroxided rat’s tail is a definite no no.
- Stop ogling your future wife and concentrate on the road – you’ve only had your licence a fortnight and there are three cars stopped up ahead that you’re about to plough into … Oops … Told you!
- Have a go. Don’t be afraid to fail.