This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Podcasting, Politics + Pop Culture, With Journalist Osman Faruqi

Dream Job

There are few people on the internet whose musings make you vigorously mutter ‘Yes!’ under your breath to the chagrin of your fellow commuters. Journalist, podcast host, audio producer and self-proclaimed ‘bearded Muslim man who has opinions’, Osman Faruqi, is one of those rare people.

As the head of audio at independent publisher Schwartz Media, Osman oversees production for the enormously successful 7am (which has become the most popular daily news podcast in the country since its launch in 2019) and will now host the newest addition to the masthead’s stable – a weekly podcast covering TV, film, music, art and literature called The Culture.

That’s a long way from spending a summer making spreadsheets for a construction firm while studying environmental engineering, and doing volunteer stints on Sydney’s community radio on the side.

But that’s the thing about dream jobs, often they’re not at all where you expected to find yourself.

31st May, 2021

Osman has been the editor of the 7am podcast since January last year, coming from ABC’s Background Briefing before then. Now, he is the host of The Culture, a new weekly podcast from Schwartz Media. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

His job requires him to ben constantly on top of the news! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Podcasting day and night. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Os never studied journalism, he was an environmental engineering student who did some volunteer stints on community radio on the side. From there, he realised journalism was his calling! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Being in contact with editors across Schwartz’s stable of publications is a key part of producing a daily news show. With The Culture, Os will have to do the same thing with the arts critics – plus staying abreast of everything new in pop culture! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Every Friday, Osman will have conversations with critics and creators about the latest books, film, music, TV and the way culture intersects with the social zeitgeist. He’s basically our own Wesley Morris. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Hosting an arts podcast is the job Os has been dreaming of since entering journalism. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 31st May 2021

Long-form, compelling and engaging cultural criticism is pretty rare these days in Australia, but I think it’s so fundamental in helping us understand the world we live in.’ Osman Faruqi

In the Twitter ‘bio’ field where most people put their job descriptions, Osman Faruqi’s simply reads: ‘Australian icon’. But beyond simply being iconic (and ironic), Osman’s paid profession is also his ideal gig: head of audio at Schwartz Media and now, host of the masthead’s new weekly arts podcast, The Culture.

Hosting a podcast about books, film, music and TV is what Osman has wanted to do ever since he accidentally entered the industry as an environmental engineering student with his own local radio show (he never ended up finishing that degree!).

Before he was hired as the editor of 7am at the beginning of last year, Osman was an investigative reporter at the ABC’s award-winning Background Briefing audio program, which he landed after being the news and political editor at Junkee, and the co-host of ‘Backchat’ – a weekly current affairs show on Sydney’s community radio station FBi.

The Culture is the culmination of all this experience across arts, politics and current affairs, aka nearly all of Osman’s interests. Every Friday, he’ll have conversations with critics and creators about the latest books, film, music, TV and the way culture intersects with the social zeitgeist. He’s basically our own Wesley Morris.

Now for the million dollar question: just how did he get there? Os gives us the lowdown.

When I grew up I wanted to be…?

Osman: Honestly…I wanted to be a firefighter. Sadly I didn’t have the build or the stamina. I never thought about journalism which is funny, considering that’s where I’ve spent the bulk of my career and have ended up. I just never saw people with my background telling the stories that I thought were important, so I didn’t think it was a profession for me.

What’s been the most important verb in the ‘get your dream job’ lexicon and why?  

I think it’s ‘listen.’ Landing jobs that you love comes down to a combination of factors, including working hard and persevering, but to be honest, most of it is luck and privilege. Very few (if any!) people are born with the skills that make them successful. Most of the time it comes from learning from those around us. And the most important part of learning is listening. It doesn’t mean you have to replicate exactly what the people around you, or your mentors, are doing, but it does mean learning from what works, and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t work.  

How did you land your current job?

I actually got approached to take on the role as editor of 7am when I was still working at the ABC. I wasn’t really hunting for a new gig, but the idea of being able to work on a show that I had a lot of respect for and could play a role in shaping was pretty tempting. I’d also never lived in Melbourne before and thought that this was a good excuse to give it a go. I don’t regret it (yet).

7am has grown so much over the past year that it made sense for us to start talking about what other audio offerings we should be developing. That’s how my role morphed into what I do now as head of audio: thinking about new projects and managing the pipeline of what we’re all working on. 

You’re the host of the newly launched podcast, The Culture. What’s the show about? 

This is the kind of show I’ve wanted to work on since I got my start in journalism. Some of the first work I did was music and film reviews, and even though I’ve spent the majority of my career working in news and current affairs, I’m always stoked when I have the chance to write or talk about culture, especially TV, film, and music.

Long-form, compelling and engaging cultural criticism is pretty rare these days in Australia, but I think it’s so fundamental in helping us understand the world we live in. A show like The Culture seemed like a no-brainer. The Saturday Paper and The Monthly have such great critics, people like Shaad D’Souza, Anwen Crawford, Christos Tsiolkas and Sarah Krasnostein. Being able to talk to them about the art they love, what’s popular and why, and all the ways culture intersects with society and politics was a really exciting idea. 

Every week we’ll go deep on a particular topic. It could be a show, a film, a record or an artist, and we’ll talk about their work, what we like or don’t like, and how it fits into everything happening around us.

What does a typical work day for you involve?

Most days start with me calling Ruby Jones, the host of 7am, on the way into work. We talk about how we thought that morning’s episode of the show sounded, what worked, and what we could have done differently. I think it’s always important to evaluate your own work. We also chat about what’s in the news, and what we think we should cover next.  

When it comes specifically to 7am, the rest of the day is a pretty hectic combination of planning our episodes, thinking through interview questions, listening in on interviews, and working on edits. I also work pretty closely with the editors of The Saturday Paper and The Monthly to stay across the stories they are working on, and what might work for the show. 

These days, in addition to that, I’m also thinking about what to talk about on The Culture, which is actually pretty fun because it involves a lot of watching TV, film, and listening to great music.

You’re pretty prolific on Twitter – How do you feel about the platform? 

The best thing about Twitter is that it helps people who might not already be established voices express themselves, and if people relate to or appreciate their ideas, they’ll start to develop a following. That definitely helped me early in my career. I remember being commissioned by editors who came across my tweets and asked if I would expand on those for an article. 

The worst thing is how overwhelmingly toxic it can be. I definitely don’t use it the way I used to. It’s really hard to have conversations and step through anything that’s even vaguely complex. Nowadays I just use it to share things. It’s a bit of a shame because I miss when things were slightly more in good faith. 

What do you feel are some of the key challenges facing Australia’s media industry right now? 

I think a huge problem is the trust deficit between journalists and the audiences we profess to serve. I don’t think the industry has really grappled with that seriously enough. Journalism, and in particular, using it to hold powerful people and institutions accountable, has never been more important. But we’re living through a moment where so many people view journalism with scepticism, and in a lot of cases that’s entirely founded. The sad thing is that even good and important reporting is tarnished within this broader context of distrust.

I think it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to rebuild that trust, but it’s incredibly important to do. I think at least part of it is about making sure the industry looks and sounds like the rest of the country, rather than the white, middle-class bubble that currently dominates the profession.

Do you have any advice for aspiring media professionals or journalists? 

Community radio is where I learned to cut my teeth, and I think it’s a great place to work to learn and practice the craft. It’s also literally never been easier to start your own podcast. One of the best things about the medium is how it has upended the traditional model of relying on a big mainstream publisher to pick you up. Some of the best and most popular podcasts are independently made. Go for it.

The first episode of ‘The Culture’ dropped on Friday. Listen and follow on Apple, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

This story was shot on location at The Espy podcasting recording studio, which is available for individual, community or commercial use. Click here to book.

View Comments

Similar Stories

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Elizabeth Kulas, Host And Producer Of The 7am Podcast

The host and producer of Schwartz Media's fantastic new daily podcast tells us what it takes to produce a podcast – every single day!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Rae Johnston, Trailblazing TV Journalist And Organisation Super-Woman!

We follow the groundbreaking NITV & SBS science and tech reporter and proud Wiradjuri woman around for a day, to learn just how she gets it
Sasha Gattermayr

Dream Job

Reporting The News In 2020, With Sydney-Based New York Times Journalist Isabella Kwai

How the young journalist scored this dream gig, and what it's like working for one of the world's biggest news organisations in what has bee...

This Week

Interiors

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Interior Designer

What does an interior designer do, and how much does a residential project cost? Here's everything you need to know, with info from leading

News

Laminex Extend Their Epic Colour Collection With These On-Trend Hues

The heritage Australian company adds seventeen new ‘decors’ to its offering, including warm earthy shades, stone-look textures + woodgra...
Sponsored

Gardens

Three Trees + A Pool - The Love Story Of A Wild-Looking, Natural Garden

Mcnuttndorff Landscapes tamed this rambling Fairfield garden around a new pool and three majestic eucalypts!

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Shopping

Seven Local Kids Design Brands We Can’t Get Enough Of!

Seven of our favourite local kids brands, and where to find them!

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Gardens

A Vacant Cow Paddock Turned Relaxed Australian Country Garden

Weeds and camphor are replaced by lush natives, a veggie garden and a hilltop plunge pool in this country garden by Fig Landscapes.

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

News

Cute Handmade Aprons For Tiny Chefs!

Little Linens sell patterned aprons designed, printed and hand-sewn from a kitchen table in Melbourne!
Sasha Aarons

Homes

An Interior Designer’s Mini Converted Warehouse That Feels Like Home

In past lives, this little converted warehouse in Fitzroy has been a secret bar and a photographic studio. Now, it’s the charming rental h...

Architecture

A Bushy Family Home That Brings The Outdoors In

You'd never know that this clever home by Anthrosite Architects shields its occupants from a busy motorway on one side of the house.

Interiors

A Peaceful, Pastel Transformation Of A Petite Art Deco Apartment

Rosanna Ceravolo creates a new, sympathetic interior personality for a two-bedroom flat in the leafy suburb of South Yarra.
2.02

Art en Route

A Visit to the Blue Mountains with Jono Fleming, and Ford Puma

Sydney stylist Jono Fleming is our tour guide for a dreamy day trip to the Blue Mountains, in the new Ford Puma!

Architecture

An Architecture Power Couple’s Extraordinary Concrete Home

Inside 'La Scala’ – the contemporary, concrete Brisbane home of architects Ingrid Richards and Adrian Spence, co-founders of Richards an...

Similar Stories

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Elizabeth Kulas, Host And Producer Of The 7am Podcast

The host and producer of Schwartz Media's daily news podcast shares her typical day.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Rae Johnston, Trailblazing TV Journalist And Organisation Super-Woman!

We follow the groundbreaking NITV & SBS science and tech reporter around for a day, to learn just how she gets it all done!
Sasha Gattermayr

Dream Job

Reporting The News In 2020, With Sydney-Based New York Times Journalist Isabella Kwai

How the young journalist scored this dream gig, and what it's like working for one of the world's biggest news organisations in what has bee...

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.