About the writer
I switched back and forth between reporting and sub-editing. Each time I went back to writing I noticed an improvement as a result of working as a sub-editor. For example, I didn’t make the errors that I spent all day or night correcting in the work of the reporters. Curiously, none seemed to learn from reading their edited work, endlessly repeating the same mistakes.
I am not saying I’m perfect, but I do love to write occasionally — when I feel I have something to say. Here’s an insight I have into writing, writer’s block or not being able to write clearly. This usually is related to the subject not being clear in your mind. When it is, the thoughts flow quickly and easily.
Working in the news media is tough. Deadlines are a nightmare. In fact, I still have nightmares that end in a confrontation with an impossible deadline. There’s also the pressure that comes from finding an original story, or a scoop, and hoping you’ll get it on air or into print before the competition does. Or, even worse, not being able to find a story to write.
I often became bored with journalism and took jobs in other fields, teaching computing and writing/reporting/publishing skills, selling various products and services, office work, security guarding, driving cabs, courier vans, buses and eventually as a driving instructor. Working as a news reporter teaches you how to write to a formula. Working in other fields adds more colour and first-hand knowledge to your work. Before retiring (and for a few more years) I did rescue work with the State Emergency Service, the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
My favourite form of relaxation is solitary camping in remote locations; just me, nature, the elements and my camera.
Desktop publishing, which appeared in the late 1980s, finally allowed me to become self-employed doing something I understood completely and utilising all the skills I had learnt. One of the magazines I produced dealt with the craft of writing and marketing your work. In 1987 I produced a magazine on a floppy disk (possibly a world first) and in 1992 I sold my Lotto system over the Internet — an exhilarating experience that I must write about one day.
Now retired, but still busy, I operate the Action Front for Truth in News Media Resource Centre, which is my contribution towards combating and correcting deterioration in news reporting standards and obvious bias in the Australian newspapers of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and our national broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Some of the stories that appear here will relate to this struggle for truth and democracy.