Guild member Chris McCullough describes how determination, hard work and cups of coffee have helped him carve a successful freelance career that’s taken him around the world.
Describe your job in a sentence:
I’ve been a full-time agri hack for the past 17 years. Basically, I trek the world hunting for the freshest and most relevant news in the agrifood industry to bring to the newspapers, magazines, PCs, tablets or smartphones of my international readers.
How did you get to where you are today?
Well I lack shyness which helped but really with sheer hard work, determination, not being intimidated and dare I say, by being a tad bolshie!
Describe an average working day for you:
As a freelance journalist no two days are the same but normal routines involve reading all the latest news from around the world in every sector every morning. Then it’s either off to an airport to find my latest scoop or knuckle down in the office striving to reduce the bulging list of stories before deadlines come knocking.
What’s the strangest place your job has taken you?
Depends on what you mean by strange but there are certainly a few more memorable places I’ve worked in including Bhuj in India, Tiraspol in Moldova, Kununurra in Australia and Donetsk in Ukraine.
What’s the best thing about working in agriculture?
I get to interview and document some of the most passionate career people there are. Plus I get to experience different foods and cultures from around the world which is one of the highlights of my job.
What gets you through a tough day?
Switching off and getting on my mountain bike
What’s the weirdest thing on your desk?
A stress ball – I never get stressed!
If you had to write about something other than farming, what would it be?
I am ambidextrous which is useful for writing about farming and other subjects at the same time! I already write about construction, trucking, politics and health but agriculture accounts for 90 percent of my output. I guess writing for travel media would be a good alternative.
How do you unwind?
By diving into a huge glass of crisp, cold, white wine usually from Chile or South Africa but will consider other winemakers too. Only white wine though, I don’t do red. Unwinding for me also involves watching a good detective or US cop drama such as Longmire or Chicago PD.
Chris in a minute:
How do you take your coffee? In a cup, not a mug, with milk, one sugar and stirred anti-clockwise.
What was the first album you bought? Men at Work – Business as Usual.
What website can you easily waste an hour on? I try not to waste time, but am hooked on property and car websites.
What one thing are you better at than anyone else? Two things relative to journalism. The first is being a good listener. Some journalists are not good at that! And second, I always meet my deadlines! Always!
What’s your go-to chocolate in a tub of Quality Streets? The purple one.
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