Galah Editor-in-Chief Annabelle Hickson didn’t plan to live in regional Australia, but she fell in love with a handsome farmer from western NSW so she thought she’d give it a shot. She knew there’d be some sacrifices – her journalism career at The Australian, the beach, and takeaway food that is still hot by the time you get home – but she had no idea how many opportunities there’d be in this new life too.
While her husband Ed planted pecan trees, Annabelle looked after their three young children, wrote a monthly column at Country Style Magazine and published a book, A Tree in the House (Hardie Grant), that has been translated into three languages and sold all over the world. She began to learn what it was to be part of a community, all in it together. Everywhere she looked she saw smart, clever, resilient people who talked about opportunities instead of limitations. This was in stark contrast to the “simple country people” stereotypes she had bought into in the city.
Twelve years after moving west, as the terrible drought of 2019-2020 eased, Hickson was craving to read stories that weren’t about disadvantage. Lack of water, lack of jobs and lack in general were all real, but they were not the only narrative from regional Australia. She wanted stories that reflected her own sense of luck at being able to live out of the city, stories about beauty and freedom and opportunities. She also wanted a publication that assumed people in regional Australia were a smart and increasingly diverse lot, who cared about community and creativity and the environment as well as about profitability. And she wanted a publication that would bridge the city and country divide. So she made Galah.
The WIN Network is home to 17 news bureaus across Australia, more than 80 news staff and services a population of more than 8 million people.
Stella is responsible for 13 half hour news bulletins each weeknight, and more than 100 news updates a day.
Stella started her career as a reporter at WIN Television in the early 90’s after graduating with a Masters in Journalism from the University of Wollongong and quickly rose to the position of Newsroom Chief of Staff at WIN Network headquarters in Wollongong.
After leading the flagship newsroom to record ratings, Stella moved to Channel 9 in Sydney as Assistant Chief of Staff, Producer and covered breaking national and international news as Reporter for many years.
While working at Channel 9, Stella also lectured at the University of Wollongong, passing her knowledge and skills to post-graduate students studying Broadcast Journalism both here and UOW offshore campuses.
Stella is proud to have a long list of successful regional and metropolitan journalists she has mentored over her career spanning 27 years – and credits WIN Television for employing thousands of journalists and camera operators over a 50 year period.