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5 Minutes With Trevor Long

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Whether he’s in a studio for TV or podcasts, or he’s dreaming of being an F1 driver, he’s always hard at work on EFTM. Here’s our 5 minutes with Trevor Long.
 
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I’m a Technology Commentator, I talk about gadgets and tech news on the radio across around 52 stations around Australia every week, I do a weekly podcast talking Tech, I write as much as I can or want to on my own publication EFTM.com and I appear regularly on The Today Show on Channel 9 as their resident “Tech Expert”
 
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
Before Tech I spent a long time working in radio as a producer and manager at Radio 2GB with Ray Hadley and the Continuous Call Team, and then at SBS as an Executive working across Radio then Technology Strategy.
 
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
I have no recollection of any dreams or aspirations – probably a racing car driver would have been my dream!
 
Which story or stories are you most proud of?
I like the little exclusives, the ones that come from readers and listeners who have insights or tips, turning them into stories that companies get frustrated by is a Joy. ? Alongside that, I love talking about things that we in the industry take for granted in tech on a national mainstream level to audiences that are simply not exposed to tech like we are.
 
What's your secret superpower?
Talking in the media.  I’m a massive introvert.  Have no interest in social gatherings, launch parties, dinners, or generally talking to people. ? So the fact I can just stand up and talk on TV, or take calls on the radio is still a funny skill to have.
 
What are three top tips you can give PR pros for working with you effectively?
Talk to me.  Read & watch my stuff.  Get to know what works for me.
 
How do you like to start a PR relationship if you've never been in touch before?
First date is normally a quick phone call…. If we hit it off, we might progress to a Chocolate Milkshake at my office.  I’m not near the city, so if you’re firstly prepared to schlep out to Thornleigh I’m going to give you a load of my time and talk underwater probably.  Let me know about your clients!
 
What's the most important lesson you've learned about journalism?
Well, I’m not a journalist, I have a lot of respect for the few actual qualified journalists left in our game to even use that title – but – watching along, reading other people’s work, It’s clear to me that there are stories to be found – if you want something other than churnalism, go find it.  Make contacts, get to know people, people will share info and you will get stories. Sadly, I’m time poor so rarely take advantage of that simple learning.
 
How do you hunt for good stories?
As mentioned, I do struggle for time to do that.  But really, its about chatting with people in the game, people are willing to share some times, BUT you have to be willing to keep stuff under your hat too, to build trust.  But when I sniff a story, I talk to anyone I can to get a hint of validation and then go with it.
 
What's been the biggest change in the industry over the past decade?
Two fold, the media side of things struggles with keeping talent.  Losing people like Cam Simpson, Harry Tucker, Luke Hopewell to the other side of the fence I think is a big loss – but the money just isn’t in our game.  We just aren’t producing as much content. There’s WAY too much US or Global content being repurposed for clicks and hits – leaving the Aussie stuff hidden away on the larger sites.  That’s sad.
 
And from the Tech Vendors/Company side of things, the leaks have really spoiled any surprise we might have – so much same same, so much “as we expected” – I’d love to be surprised again.
 
What do you think is the most important issue facing the tech industry today?
Today – Coronavirus.  This thing will change everything in the next 12 months.  Product delays, launch delays, shortages of product, rising prices, it could mean anything. It’s really fascinating – as weird as that is – to see it play out.
 
What's the biggest issue facing journalism?
The next generation.  I don’t see any “young hopes” – kids keen to be the next one of us.  I’ve got spare desks at my office waiting for some young Uni student who wants to learn how to make videos or review products.  But no, they all seem to want to get out of the gate into a big money job, and not learn by loving the work first. Sad really.
 
Exclusives are everything. Discuss.
E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  If your story is good, your product is good – I can get you National TV coverage with that one word.  It’s how the game is played, it’s the go forward chip in the game of Tech Media. Call me.
 
What do you wish you'd never have to explain to readers ever again?
Nothing, People who don’t get free phones and TVs to play with don’t experience what we do, so they should get the benefit of hearing about it as much as they need. Readers are always right – except for the smart ase commenters, but I just rip them to shreds anyway.  Happy to chat NBN, Porting mobiles, buying a laptop every week – because those topics are only relevant to the people going through them, so if someone wants to know it, we should explain it.
 
Name a recent story you wish you'd written.
It’s a shame to admit I can’t think of one. I really thing we’ve had a very flat 6 months in terms of stories of note.  Maybe it’s just me?
 
Who is the best journo in the industry and why?
On.The. Spot. No, I won’t. But let me name a couple who I think fly under the radar. Ray Shaw, damn he knows his stuff. Frustrating at times to watch him work because I know he’s more thorough than I’ll ever be, but respect his work. David Swan, that kid can work a story, find an angle, ask the right questions – I love his stuff, and am super excited (is it weird to be proud?) that he’s got the top job at the Aus. And Stephen Fenech – I love him like a brother because he’s loyal, but he also works hard for every story and I know how hard it is to balance working the editorial side while working it as a business too.
 
Which industry publications, podcasts or other productions are on your unmissable list?
Honestly, none.  It used to be that I’d scan news.com.au and the SMH every day, but these days, stories come at you via social, so if I’m not across it, I will be very quickly just because a radio station asks for comment and sends me the story they are reading. That said, I think the work The Australian are doing on a week in week out basis is industry leading.
 
How do you keep up with what your colleagues are writing?
I don’t.  I’ve stopped looking over my shoulder. It’s just too hard to follow it all, was counter productive in terms of time management, so I follow my readers questions to stories, and I write when I love and enjoy so the audience who share that get the same enjoyment.
 
Which app has changed your life more than any other?
SUPERHUMAN.  O-M-G. Email was my achilles heel forever.  Now, I pay for Superhuman. I can’t pay a PA to help with email, only I know if that email is important or what needs to happen with it.  But Superhuman allows me to control my inbox, control when I deal with things and work better on being responsive and keeping other people accountable.  A-MAZING.
 
Favourite screen-free hobbies?
Family.  I just love watching my kids play, chilling out and just doing nothing.  If they’re busy then I’ll take a nice car for a little drive and belt out some music.  Bliss
 
What's your best party trick?
Smokebomb.  I can disappear without you realising.
 
What’s your go-to song at karaoke?
Piano Man?
 
Favourite sporting moment?
Mark Webber’s Fifth place finish at Albert Park in 2002.  Hopefully somewhere I have a cassette with all my radio news report from that day.
 
Have you ever been said to resemble a famous person or character? If so, who?
Nope, no person gets famous looking like this.
 
What's your favourite game of all time?
ALL TIME? Man, that’s tough. Grand Theft Auto as a series has been a lifelong journey, so probably that or Lemmings. ?
 
Name five discs you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island?
Whispering Jack, John Farnham
33 1/3, John Farnham
Throwing Copper, Live
Greatest Hits, Queen
Greatest Hits, Billy Joel
 
What was your favourite TV show of the 2010s?
Breaking Bad.
 
What vices do you lean into when you're chasing a tight deadline?
Coke and Chocolate.
 
What's the most ridiculous buzzword in the industry?
Artificial Intelligence.
 
The PR fairy calls saying you can have the interview of your dreams. Who's it gonna be?
Alex, I’m available whatever day Tim Cook can see me.

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