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Women in Media - Mia Freedman
Welcome to the first profile in MediaScope's new series where we'll ask inspirational 'Women in Media' about their career and experiences in our industry. Our aim is to create awareness of the opportunities and ongoing challenges for women in the media, marketing, advertising and publishing industry.
Thank you to Mia for getting involved in the first profile in this new series.
Please subscribe to MediaScope's newsletter to be the first to meet other great 'Women in Media' as we continue this series.
Tell us about your industry background?
I began my career as work experience at Cleo when I was a year into my journalism degree aged 19. And I didn’t leave that building for the next 15 years. I worked my way up to editor of Cosmo when I was 24, edited that mag for the next 7 years, launched a number of spin-offs including Cosmo Brides and Cosmo Pregnancy and then became Editor In Chief of Cosmo Cleo and Dolly. I had a brief flirtation with TV after that and then ran screaming from too many years in senior media management to starting Mamamia.com.au – a women’s website – at home in my lounge room on my laptop. Which is where it stayed for 3 years until my husband became CEO in 2010 and together we turned it into a business.
What is your role and what do you do?
I’m the publisher of Mamamia.com.au and ivillage.com.au. Together they reach almost a million Australian women every month. I also edit Mamamia – which is the #1 independent women’s website in Australia. I also write a syndicated weekly column for News Ltd. This year we’ve launched Mamamia Publishing, a division of the company that publishes ebooks and our first, The Gift Of Sleep is already a best-seller. We’re also launching an e-commerce site, Mamamia Shopping. Life is busy!
How do you personally manage your work/life balance?
I don’t! I’m a Libra so I’m always looking for balance but my husband and I have never worked as hard as we are now. It’s literally around the clock except for the few hours a night we sleep. If we’re not at work in the office, we’re with the kids at home or working at home. I have a lot of help. A nanny three days a week and a cleaner and a mother in law and mother who are always able to help out. I have an editorial team of 6 at Mamamia and we have about 20 staff in the business overall. Very occasionally I feel balanced. I try to spend Fridays at home with my youngest son (our kids are 3, 6 and 14) but there are no divisions between work and home. Sometimes I have to take the kids to work if I’m stuck and I’m often trying to work at home while they play. But it’s our business, we’re a start up, the internet never sleeps and it’s just what we do. I’m lucky enough to be able to have flexibility. I leave work on Mondays at 2:30 to pick up the kids from school and my husband and I always drop them off which gives us some nice time in the car. But I won’t lie, it’s hectic and often feels unbalanced.
Please outline your views on the general media market & the position of women?
I’ve always enjoyed working with women. It’s what I missed the most when I worked briefly in TV and then at home by myself. I’ve always wanted to create content for women no matter what platform I’ve worked on. I think online is an environment that intrinsically suits women because it’s all about communication. We are embedded in it so we understand what other users want.
What advice can you offer to women who are considering a long- term career in our industry?
It’s a tough time and I don’t know what to suggest. Print is looking like a very bad career choice. Interestingly when I first started working online, I would still meet so many young women and girls who wanted to work in magazines. I’ve noticed a dramatic change. They just don’t have the currency or the aspiration factor anymore. Online is where it’s at.
What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
I had a dreadful time working in TV. I went into a job that wasn’t well enough defined and there was huge resistance to my input. It was the biggest mistake of my career. And yet I’m glad I made it because it helped me work out what I DIDN’T want to do – which is crucial in propelling you into what you do want to do.
What can our industry do right now to better recognise & support women & families?
Be flexible, flexible, flexible. It’s not just women with kids who don’t want to work full time. Many Gen Y women are also looking for balance. It’s about the work you get out of someone not how long they’re sitting at a desk.
What’s your favourite business and personal magazine, site or program?
I’m typical of so many women in that I’ve almost abandoned print with the exception of the Sunday papers. They are such a tradition and my last remaining print purchase. Otherwise I’m online constantly. I get huge inspiration from the people I follow on Twitter. It’s not about what someone had for breakfast – I don’t follow people who use twitter for that. When you follow journos and writers, they provide you with a never ending supply of fascinating links. It’s like having the coolest, smartest people in the world curating the Internet for you.
If you know a 'Woman in Media' you'd like to see profiled please get in touch with your suggestion.
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