Karl Stefanovic Biography

Modern media is an ever changing landscape to keep up with public demands and constant technological change. Karl Stefanovic, current host of the Nine Networks Today show is a journalist whose career has been directly impacted by media convergence and the globalization of media. Stefanovic’s introduction to social media is a result of him adapting to a new age of journalism and being a television celebrity. During his career, Karl has also had a direct impact on the fourth estate and public sphere via many news stories. In particular his sexism experiment where he wore the same suit on air over the course of 2014 (Nine Entertainment Co., 2016) (Australian Government, n.d.).

Karl Stefanovic was born on 12th August 1974 and was a student at St. Augustines College in Cairns before moving to Anglican Church Grammer School in Brisbane. After school Stefanovic moved on to the Queensland University of Technology where he earnt a degree in journalism and graduated in 1994. This then set up Stefanovic for a job at WIN Television in Rockhampton and Cairns as a cadet reporter (Famous Birthdays, n.d.). In 1996 he moved on to TVNZ as a reporter for One Network News in New Zealand and then in 1998 he reported and presented news for Ten News in Brisbane. In 2000 Stefanovic became a member of the Nine Network as a reporter and back up presenter for National Nine News in Brisbane. While at Nine, Stefanovic was a part of the Nine Sydney newsroom (2002), had a stint in Los Angeles as the US correspondent (2003) and then landed his biggest role to date as the host of Nines Today show (2005-till now). Stefanovic also has other roles on the Nine Network, hosting the Carols by Candlelight since 2008 and making contributions on 60 Minutes from 2011 till now. In 2011 Stefanovic received the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television and the Silver Logie for Most Popular TV Presenter (Nine Entertainment Co., 2016).

Karl Stefanovic is of particular interest to me as he is a very popular icon on Australian television and one that we can easily get out of bed and watch every day. Stefanovic is recognized as a typical Australian male and is easily understood by all generations of people because he is so relatable. What makes Stefanovic so relatable is that he presents the daily news with a hint of humour, something that is becoming more and more popular in current day media. Stefanovic also is of particular interest to me because he is very broad with the news he covers. He can not only comment on political issues, but its easily seen that he has interests in sport, international news and many other types of news, making him the perfect person for his morning news show.

Stefanovic’s media career has been heavily influenced by the ever changing trends of media convergence and globalization. Stefanovic is a member of many different social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where he not only shares serious news stories, but stories that are humorous to people that follow him. Currently, Stefanovic has over four hundred thousand followers on Twitter, showing that he is using social media to reach a wider audience. Although Stefanovic started working on the Today show in 2005 he only joined Twitter in 2011, meaning that he has adjusted to the globalization of media (Twitter, 2016). Stefanovic currently works on many different platforms with the Nine Network along with his main job as host of Today. Stefanovic has hosted the Carols by Candlelight since 2008 on Nine along with regular contributions on 60 Minutes from 2011. In particular Stefanovic recently interviewed Jarryd Hayne, a former NRL star and now NFL player. Stefanovic followed Hayne’s story and it has been one of the biggest sporting stories since Hayne announced his intentions at the end of the 2013 NRL season (see video). Stefanovic has been following Haynes story since Hayne left the NRL as shown in an interview from the Today show studio crossing to Hayne in the USA about to play his first game for his new team. This story is an example of our obsession with what happens worldwide and the media allows us to see anything as soon as it happens with Stefanovic being a massive part of that (Smith, 2016) (Cheer & Awford, 2015). Over the course of Stefanovic’s career he has worked in several countries and many locations in Australia which all led up to landing major news job on Today show where he is now nationally recognized. Countries such as the USA and New Zealand gave Stefanovic real world experience to build his resume and network. While posted in the USA, Stefanovic has a brief stint for thirteen months on the CNN Network. With the emergence of social media, working on many different platforms and the real world experience that Stefanovic gained while travelling the world as a reporter are all prime examples of how media convergence and the globalization of the media have affected him and how he has been able to adapt (Nine Entertainment Co., 2016).

Over his time working as a journalist, especially on the Today show, Stefanovic has used his popularity to make significant contributions to the fourth estate and public sphere. One of Stefanovic’s greatest contributions is his sexism experiment done during 2014 on the Today show where he wore the same suit everyday on air for a year. The reasoning behind the experiment was to see if anybody noticed, which they didn’t, an idea that was formed while reflecting on constant criticism and unsolicited advice on the appearances of co-host Lisa Wilkinson and Channel 7 Sunrise host Samantha Armytage. “I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour – on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is…that’s what I wanted to test,” Stefanovic stated when explaining his experiment. He also said that he had not received one complaint about his repetitive attire over the past year, while Wilkinson regularly copped criticism about the way she looked, showing the double standards that Stefanovic was trying point out. Within 24 hours of the announcement, hundreds of tweets and comments were streaming onto social media sites talking about the issue, showing the huge influence that Stefanovic can have (Powell, 2014). Stefanovic is also known for the many interviews he does with politicians on the Today show. He uses his position in the media to bring to life issues that many Australian citizens have with the government. In particular his interview with at the time Prime Minister Tony Abbott, where Stefanovic questioned many controversial political issues. Statements such as, “No one is buying what you are selling, what you are laying down, that is the problem,” show how Stefanovic has used his media position to support the fourth estate and public sphere (Crane, 2014). Stefanovic had a similar conversation with Minister Christopher Pyne, telling him to “Man up.” Stefanovic shows particular interest in these issues and is not afraid to voice his opinion because people listen to him (Bagshaw, 2014). Stefanovic has also been on the forefront of many major local and international news events. He was involved in disasters such as the Queensland floods, Christchurch earthquake, Japanese tsunami, Canberra bushfires, the Childers backpacker hostel fire, Bali Bombings and terror trials in Guantanamo Bay. Stefanovic also involved himself in the funeral of Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles and Marlon Brando along with attending the Oscars and Golden Globe award ceremonies (Nine Entertainment Co., 2016). Stefanovic’s contribution to the fourth estate and public sphere since he began his journalism career is unquestionable, he makes himself a role model and an inspiring person.

In conclusion, it can be seen that the changes in modern journalism have only enhanced the success on Karl Stefanovic. He has adapted with his use of social media and the humoristic way he approaches presenting the news. Stefanovic gained real world experience in other countries before landing on Nines Today show which has clearly been his greatest success, as shown by winning the Gold and Silver Logies. Stefanovic also shows through the work he has done that he regularly contributes to the fourth estate and public sphere.

References

Australian Government, n.d. Media Convergence and the Transformed Media Environment. [Online]
Available at: http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/3-media-convergence-and-transformed-media-environment/media-convergence-and-transform-0
[Accessed 22 March 2016].

Bagshaw, E., 2014. ‘Man up’: Karl Stefanovic strikes again. [Online]
Available at: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2740281/man-up-karl-stefanovic-strikes-again/
[Accessed 29 March 2016].

Cheer, L. & Awford, J., 2015. Was it an omen? Today show’s interview with Jarryd Hayne is stopped by a passing jet – prompting Karl Stefanovic to ask: ‘Is that the Hayne plane overhead?’. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3233158/Is-Hayne-Plane-overhead-Today-s-Karl-Stefanovic-jokes-Jarryd-Hayne-ahead-49ers-debut.html
[Accessed 29 March 2016].

Crane, E., 2014. ‘You were feral… No one is buying what you are selling’: Karl Stefanovic goes after Tony Abbott as PM’s popularity drops to a five-month low. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2856606/No-one-buying-selling-Karl-Stefanovic-s-blunt-assessment-Tony-Abbott-s-leadership-popularity-drops-five-month-low.html
[Accessed 28 March 2016].

Famous Birthdays, n.d. Famous Birthdays. [Online]
Available at: http://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/karl-stefanovic.html.
[Accessed 22 March 2016].

Nine Entertainment Co., 2016. Karl Stefanovic. [Online]
Available at: http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/today/team/bios/karl-stefanovic/
[Accessed 22 March 2016].

Powell, R., 2014. Karl Stefanovic’s suit experiment for feminism wins plaudits. [Online]
Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/karl-stefanovics-suit-experiment-for-feminism-wins-plaudits-20141116-11nn4o.html
[Accessed 28 March 2016].

Smith, Z., 2016. Jarryd Hayne: ‘It’s a rush I’ve never had before’. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/jarryd-hayne-its-a-rush-ive-never-had-before/news-story/7c6e9a7f186ae853cf4ed3609bf8ff7b
[Accessed 25 March 2016].

Twitter, 2016. Karl Stefanovic. [Online]
Available at: https://twitter.com/karlstefanovic?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
[Accessed 25 March 2016].

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