Sign in/sign up

5 Minutes with Graeme Philipson

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
He’s one of the stalwarts of the industry and he’s been front and centre of the industry on some big industry stories of recent weeks. So it seemed a good time to catch him for 5 Minutes!
 
What do you do and where does your work appear?
For more than twenty years now I have suited myself. I still need an income but I am not terribly concerned where my stuff appears. It's just words.
 
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
I am known for many things. My work on building user case studies in MIS magazine in the 90s changed the face of Australian IT journalism. People started to realise that the important stories were the users, not the vendors.
 
What did you really want to be when you were growing up? 
I always wanted to be a writer. I could imagine no other future. I grew up In the bush and there was no obvious career path, but I just gravitated towards it. When I was 15 years old, in 1969, I won a prize for school service. I could choose two books. I chose the Oxford English Dictionary and the Pelican Book of Computers. I still have them both with the dedication inside.
 
Which story or stories are you most proud of? 
My recent articles tracking the many problems with the Australian Computer Society are probably the best and most significant things I have ever done. Back in the 90s I was also quite influential in making people realise that mainframe computing would never die. I was also the first ever Australian journalist to warn of the year 2000 problem.
 
What's your secret superpower?
I am really good at crisp, clear, English prose. It shits me that most people don't give a damn. But then, it makes me look good. Some people actually care.
 
What are three top tips you can give PR pros for working with you effectively?
Understand the journalist. Establish a personal relationship. Do not follow up on press releases and ask did you get my shit. If it is worthwhile it will be published, if not it won't. There is nothing a journalist hates more than being hassled.
 
How do you like to start a PR relationship if you've never been in touch before?
Talk about personal stuff. Establish a rapport.
 
What's the most important lesson you've learned about journalism?
Great question. I have learned that people basically don't care what you write. So long as you are accurate and truthful and true to your principles, you will do well.
 
How do you hunt for good stories?
I don't do it any more. I'm 66 years old. The stories come to me. I basically don't give a shit.
 
What's been the biggest change in the industry over the past decade?                                                                            
If by the industry, you mean the IT journalism industry, it's so totally fragmented. In my peak in the 90s it was all so much fun. There was a real camaraderie. I was the junket king,?  and how much fun was that? Now it's a fucking dogfight. I'm so glad I was there then, and not trying to make a buck nowadays. I miss print.
 
What do you think is the most important issue facing the tech industry today?
Too many young journalists who don't understand the history of the industry. Really bright people with lots of enthusiasm, but who have no perspective. Call me an old fart, but it's really an important issue.
 
What's the biggest issue facing journalism?
The Murdochisation and Nineism of commentary. The marginalisation of independent media outlets. The difficulty of independent voices making themselves heard. A drowning out of truth by opinion. The amount of sheer bullshit masquerading as truth. The fact that PR people are running the agenda. The lack of courage of too many people who should know better.
 
Exclusives are everything. Discuss.
Exclusives are bullshit. Small-minded greediness. Few people read many publications. More important to get the message out than try to keep it to your own publication.
 
What do you wish you'd never have to explain to readers ever again?
History.
 
Name a recent story you wish you'd written.
Can't think of one. It's just words.
 
Who is the best journo in the industry and why?
This is hard. I think David Frith is excellent. Simon Sharwood is superb. For the last few years I have been the default judge of the Kester Cranswick lifetime achievement award. There are many good journalists in this industry, but I am worried that too few of them are true journalists and have sold their soul to the corporate dollar.
 
Which industry publications, podcasts or other productions are on your unmissable list?
I look at iTWire every day, but only because I used to write for it, and David Frith's computer Daily News is an essential. Most stuff is just regurgitated PR crap, and I find I get most good information from the mainstream media when they cover  IT events. I do an enormous amount of research for my market analysis activities, which is where I get most of my really important information.
 
How do you keep up with what your colleagues are writing?
I don't do anything special. I work on the basis that if it's important, I'll come across it.
 
Which app has changed your life more than any other?
Microsoft Office. I run my life on Outlook, MS Word is my stock in trade, and Excel is the best pieces of software ever written.
 
Favourite screen-free hobbies?
Travel, country music, sex.
 
What's your best party trick?
Getting really drunk without appearing to be so.
 
What’s your go-to song at karaoke?
You really need to see me do Rhinestone Cowboy, House of the Rising Sun, My Way, and Suspicious Minds.
 
Favourite sporting moment?
Australia's victory in the cricket World Cup in 1987 as my son was being born. My wife went into labour in the fifth over the first innings and my son was born on 45th over of the second innings. But even without that it remains the greatest cricket match of all time.
 
Have you ever been said to resemble a famous person or character? If so, who?
I have often been mistaken for Dr Karl. One time we were both keynote speakers at a conference, and the man at breakfast the next morning thought I was him. I pretended to be so, and kept up to the persona for more than half an hour.
 
What's your favourite game of all time?
I was university chess champion and I love the game.
 
Name five discs you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island?
LPs...
Bob Dylan's greatest hits volume 1
Bob Dylan's greatest hits volume 2
Ray Charles, modern sound in country and western music
The Byrds: Sweetheart of the rodeo.
Complete Beethoven symphonies
 
What was your favourite TV show of the 2010s?
House of Cards
 
What vices do you lean into when you're chasing a tight deadline?
Alcohol. It's a bit more than a lean.
 
What's the most ridiculous buzzword in the industry?
Going forward. Where else do you go?
 
The PR fairy calls saying you can have the interview of your dreams. Who's it gonna be?
Bill Gates. My age, and probably the most influential person in the IT industry the last fifty years.

Membership privileges

  • Read and comment an all stories
  • Weekly digest of media and PR news (optional)
  • Post media releases to PRWire newswire
  • Advertise job vacancies
  • List your business in our PR directory


Please note that Influencing is used EXCLUSIVELY by media and influencers, as well as professionals who manage marketing and communications within their organisations, so we need a work email address.

More Media News

Miraudo to run RTRFM

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Simon Miraudo is the GM-designate for WA radio station RTRFM, effective 16 November, reported Radioinfo.

He will take over from Chris Wheeldon, who had been interim GM after Karen Lee left earlier this year. 

Miraudo has been with the station for almost ten years, starting out as a volunteer then later co-hosted the Movie Squad review show.

Tune in to Miraudo on LinkedIn.

Towell runs economics beat

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Noel Towell has moved to become The Age’s new economics editor.

He previously handled the paper’s state politics desk.

Follow Towell on Twitter @NoelTowell.

Lizzies 2020: Final Tickets Available

By Mike Woodcock in Media News on

There are just 4 weeks to go until the 2020 Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards.

With our COVID plan ensuring safety for all attendees, numbers are very strictly limited, however some tickets are still available.
Please note:

  • Dress code is Black Tie formal 
  • The Watterson Best-Dressed Journo Awards Theming is 'Country'
  • Event-exclusive pre-dinner rides from 6pm to 7pm
  • Doors open at 6.45pm
  • To ensure the safety of our guests, there will be no official After-Party this year.

Because numbers are strictly limited, we will be closing ticket sales early this year, so if you do plan on coming, please secure your tickets and RSVP as soon as possible.

For our guests that have already RSVP'd, thank you for your early response - we look forward to seeing you Nov 6th.

The email problem

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
It's easy to send an email. At scale it gets trickier, and no doubt most PR uses dedicated tools to manage bursts of press releases or other information when sent to many journalists in one quick go. We've touched on the issues of list management in the past, but it's also important to remember where the real effort lies in the email relationship.
 
Once upon a time, there was a cost to sending every single message you wanted to send out into the world. By post, it was both money and time. By fax, it was money (and the hope it would be legible at the other end). In both instances, there wasn't a bona fide expectation that the recipient would definitely see what was sent to them.
 
In the email era, there is no cost to send and practically instant delivery. This means exponential scale messaging has become the norm. You write it once, you send it to thousands. Dust your hands, it's a job well done.
 
Of course, this places the greatest emphasis on t

Ferguson off to Washington DC

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

ABC NEWS Beijing bureau chief Sarah Ferguson has been tasked to the US capital, Washington DC, for the next six months.

The ABC stated that she will be there for in-depth reporting on the US presidential elections and its aftermath, right up to the inauguration in January 2021.

ABC Washington bureau chief David Lipson, North America correspondent Kathryn Diss, and chief foreign correspondent Phil Williams are already on station to cover the polls.

As Ferguson’s reassignment leaves the Beijing bureau with no reporters to cover developments in North and East Asia, ABC News is temporarily setting up a bureau office in Seoul, South Korea.

“We have a top-notch team in the Washington bureau and Sarah’s superb long-form and investigative reporting will add formidable firepower to our coverage of the fascinating and significant US story,” said ABC NEWS director Gaven Morris.

"The drama of the US story is compelling. It's the other side of the coin in the g

Hunt tapped for First Edition EP

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

SKY News has appointed Zoe Hunt as the executive producer of breakfast show First Edition.

She will now be in charge of booking guests for the show and coordinate with SKY News reporters in preparing their stories for airing.

Hunt has been a line producer at the network since joining a year ago. She had previously performed similar duties at the Today Show.

Get to know Hunt on LinkedIn and on Twitter @ZoeHunt1002.

Finder taps Megginson for editor work

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Consumer comparison site Finder Australia has welcomed Sarah Megginson as its new senior editor for home loans.

She will cover developments in the home mortgage circuit and oversee Finder’s content strategy for the vertical.

Megginson recently exited Key Media after 13 years, the last four of which as managing editor of B2B mortgage brokerage title Australian Broker. 

Follow Megginson on LinkedIn.

More News latest

PRIA’s national conference goes online
The PRIA's virtual conference kicks off on 27 October.

360PR lands BATHEFEX account
360PR is on the case of Chemcorp’s BATHEFEX line.

New clients are in at Polkadot
Polkadot Communications has new clients in the fold.

Mango Communications wins Teachers Health account
Mango Communications is working with Teachers Health.

Icon Agency takes on Carers Victoria account
Icon Agency begins new campaign with Carers Victoria.