Meet the team – Julia Medew
July 14, 2022
Julia Medew is the VHA’s Media Consultant. An award-winning journalist, with extensive experience reporting on Victoria’s healthcare system, Julia enjoys helping the VHA team strategically translate members’ priorities for the media to communicate to the public.
Tell members a bit about your background – where has your career taken you and what brought you to the VHA?
My career began in The Age newsroom where I worked as a ‘copy kid’ – also known as a ‘newsroom assistant’ – from the age of 17. I had just finished school and had an interest in history, politics, and current affairs, so it was a great fit for me. While I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, I worked a few days a week, helping journalists, editors and photographers create a newspaper every day. In 2004, with a degree under my belt, I got a job as a trainee journalist there. For a year, I followed senior journalists around learning to report on everything from Australian Rules football through to the daily stock market results and crime. It was a fabulous education.
I then worked mainly as a court reporter and a health reporter covering Victoria’s health system. I loved writing about medical research and healthcare because it was always genuinely interesting and important for a lot of people. When we all started reading websites instead of printed newspapers, digital analytics proved this. Health news was always popular, which made me feel good about the work I was doing. That job led me to win several journalism awards, including a Quill Award and a Walkley Award.
In 2017, I left The Age and set up my own business helping people in the health sector with media relations and communications. It’s been very satisfying. I’ve worked with a diverse range of organisations, including the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Monash University, and the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority. In October 2021, I started assisting the VHA with media engagement. It’s been a terrific job with plenty of opportunities for positive media coverage.
What are some things you’re working on at the moment and what most excites you about these projects?
One part of my job is managing calls from journalists wanting the VHA’s perspective on health system issues. The pandemic has created an insatiable desire for information about how health services are changing and coping with new demands, and what might help in future. The VHA is well-connected and has great insights to offer, so I enjoy helping the team quickly translate their knowledge for the media to communicate to the public. Speed is essential when handling media calls, so I enjoy the challenging pace required at times.
I’m also excited about this year’s state election. We’re deep in election mode right now, so I’m looking forward to helping the team strategically communicate our members’ priorities to the media in coming months. Elections are always exciting, but they’ve taken on a new level of importance for the health sector during a pandemic with no end in sight.
What do you enjoy about working in the public health space?
I really love the constantly evolving landscape of public health and that there is always more to learn. My job requires me to be well informed, so I get to indulge in reading a lot of news about public health, medical research, and healthcare. It’s endlessly interesting and often relevant to my own personal life or a loved one’s life. I like the process of acquiring that knowledge and sharing it when the time is right.