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From country boy to his own media company

The journey to the top of the media industry often starts from humble beginnings. William Botoulas asked Craig Hutchison how a boy from Warragul came to be CEO of his own media company.

It is often said that prosperous journeys have humble beginnings.

For a boy from the country Victorian town of Warragul, who went from calling greyhounds at the local track to owning his own media company, this sentiment rings true.

Craig Hutchison, popularly known as ‘Hutchy’, is the Chief Executive Officer of Crocmedia.  He co-founded the company in 2006 with good friend James Swanwick, who manages Crocmedia’s Los Angeles office.

Hutchison recalls with great fondness the moment when the pair brainstormed their idea for a business venture.

‘James and I got talking at a party in the US about our careers and what we wanted to achieve and the idea came from there,’ he said.

‘We each had similar goals and a similar outlook on the media industry.’

In just five years the company has continued to expand, with offices now in New York, Singapore, Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Hutchison has a relentless passion for his craft, a quality he believes is essential for any journalist looking to survive in such a competitive industry.

In a tough employment environment, he advises young and aspiring journalists to grasp any opportunity to build a portfolio of work.

‘I said yes to as many media jobs as I could and was prepared – and hopefully still am – to work harder than anyone else,’ he said.

‘I volunteered for my local paper and contacted organisations in Melbourne to get a foot in the door.’

His first metropolitan job came in 1996, as a radio producer on the Sport 927 breakfast show.

Hutchison believes that job was integral in shaping what has become a successful media career.

‘It is still one of the best things I’ve ever done,’ Hutchison said.

‘The show taught me to be on top of the news and to work hard to secure good quality guests and content. They are lessons I still use to this day.’

From there Hutchison began his climb up the media industry ladder, joining Channel Ten as a sports journalist before moving to the Seven Network, where he became the network’s Chief Football Reporter.

At the end of the 2006 football season Hutchinson left Seven and moved to Channel Nine, where he continued covering football.

While he has made some difficult and risky decisions during his career, Hutchison believes ‘the trick is being able to know when’ to make those choices.

Hutchison has received his fair share of scrutiny over the years for ruffling a few feathers but it’s a topic he’s reluctant to discuss.

‘There have been a few times,’ he concedes, adding ‘it’s important to remember in this job you’re not going to make everyone happy.’

It is becoming increasingly clear for journalism students that the path to employment post-university is rarely a smooth one, with limited job opportunities available.

Hutchison says he looks beyond reporting skill when hiring for Crocmedia.

‘We look for talented people – not just journalists – who believe in our company and what we are trying to achieve and who are willing to go the extra yard to make a difference.’

William Botoulas is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University.

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