Working remotely for TV giant

Working remotely for TV giant

28 October 2015

A computer and internet connection is all Warwick Meade needs to work in Auckland for Al Jazeera.

Meade (Hall House 1990-94) is a news and current affairs video editor for the Arabic television channel, the company he has worked for since 2006.

After several years abroad, last year Meade relocated back to New Zealand with his American wife Tina.

“The luckiest thing that has happened to me, at least workwise, is when I quit, I told my boss I am going to move back to New Zealand with Tina and he said ‘we will see about getting you to work remotely.’”

“At first I think he thought, ‘we will see how much work he can send you’ but essentially I am still working full time for Al Jazeera and doing it out of the spare bedroom.”

He works mainly on the network’s leading current affairs show Fault Lines, which is produced in Washington DC.

Each day starts with a Skype chat or phone call with producers about what he will be working on that day.

No two days are the same. “At the moment I am working on hydraulic fracking causing earthquakes in Oklahoma, the tax free incentives bringing millionaires into Puerto Rico and child soldiers in the Congo.”

Once Meade has edited together raw pictures and sound he sends the finished items back to America, via a secure internet channel, for broadcast on Al Jazeera.

In a reflection of modern working practices, workload is measured more by output rather than hours worked.

“I have more control over my hours, which is nice, because no one is lurking over my shoulder. It is a bit more driven by productivity than by what specific hours I am working.”

The equipment needed to do his job from home is “surprisingly little.”

“I bought an iMac as soon as I got back to New Zealand and that was pretty much me. The rest of it is just software that Al Jazeera has bought for me.”

The only thing he misses is the camaraderie of a newsroom. “That is the toughest part, to have no-one around constantly. That is the one part that you miss.”

When he left school, Warwick trained as a video editor at South Seas Film and Television School on Auckland’s North Shore. He then worked at regional TV station ATV, TVNZ Breakfast and eventually 7 o’clock current affairs show Holmes.

An “OE” followed when he travelled for eight months before a stint working as a video editor in Toronto, Canada.

He returned to New Zealand in 2005, intending to stay, only to be head-hunted along with a “huge number of TVNZ and TV3 staffers” to work for the newly established Arabic television station Al Jazeera, in Doha, Qatar.

In 2008, after getting “a little bit sick of living in the desert” Meade took an opportunity with the network to move to Washington DC.

It was a career highlight working in the US capital the year Barack Obama was elected as President.

“That was a massive thing, as DC is a very left-leaning city and the whole place just went nuts.”

Meade has been part of teams that have won a number of top awards for documentary-making and current affairs. A special programme on the devastating cholera outbreak in Haiti won a recent Emmy Award.

Meade and Tina moved back to New Zealand at the end of 2014 and live in Mission Bay. Tina works for the New Zealand Herald.

Meade frequently visits Hamilton where his mother Kay Meade lives. He attended Hukanui Primary School and Southwell.

Outside work, he retains the interest in art he had at St Paul’s and enjoys painting with oils in his spare time. His jobs overseas have also given him many opportunities for travel.

(Source: Monica Holt)