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Why I'm Here

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Hi. I'm Seamus, and I owe a lot to this website. So it's a real pleasure to help the Influencing team renew and relaunch the community that saved my career back in 2005.
 
I had my first break as a journalist in London in 2001. Working, weirdly enough, at Fairfax's bolthole London office just off Fleet Street. I worked at MIS UK as a junior writer alongside Paul Smith, who later moved to Australia himself and is now the technology editor at AFR. We've all come a long way since.
 
In 2003 I got my first local gig at Internet.au, the magazine about the internet whose owner refused to let us give the magazine a website. Being at Next Media in the Redfern warehouse was an amazing intro to the local industry, surrounded by music mags like Rolling Stone as well as the teams from PC Powerplay and Hyper. Fun times, but by the end of 2004 Internet.au was gone.
 
I hadn't been to many press events before I went to my first 'Phil fest', as we affectionately called the IT Journo weekend conferences. But through those events I built a network of contacts on both the PR and journalist sides of the industry. "A network of contacts"? That's LinkedIn speak.
 
What happened was this: I made friends.
 
I felt welcome. I got to know people outside the immediate demands of a product launch or interview opp. By sharing a meal and a drink we opened the door to more comfortable 'cut to the chase, please' phone calls and greater understanding of each other's needs so there was less time wasted when we were back at our desks getting on with the core of our work.
 
At the end of 2004, Internet.au shutdown – we got our notice two hours before our work Christmas party. It was textbook Scrooge stuff. And as the news filtered through the community I got messages of support and offers of freelance work to help tide things over until a clear path was in place for the road ahead.
 
I absolutely attribute that successful transition from magazine writer to a solid six years as a freelance journalist to this website and the community it brought together.
 
Today, times are harder. There's less in the freelance budget. Fewer seats at desks on magazines and websites. I don't envy anyone carving out their place in this ecosystem in the decade ahead. But that makes a strong and supportive community more important than ever.
 
In recent months I've informally offered mentorship to around a dozen writers eager to find their path. And I've heard from editors who have said they're just too busy to scout for new voices to add to their mix. The budgets aren't what they used to be, but they're keen to give work to new writers if only they could more easily find them.
 
For a chunk of this past decade it felt like social media was the new 'hub' for these kinds of community discussions. The news should come to where we all spend our time already. Our conversations can include more people and be shared more widely through those open networks. But as time passes, as our scrolling habits become more zombie-like, and as the noise ratio overwhelms the quality signals, I think there's an appetite for the rebirth of an inclusive-but-managed space for professional community discussions.
 
Competition is fierce, but I hope this space can again provide a sense of community that makes it easy to get a feel for what is going on around the industry. What your colleagues and competitors are up to. What your friends are interested in. What you can do to help each other. Who the newer voices are.
 
Let's get to know each other again. Our interests. Our challenges. Our fears. Our ambitions. These aren’t the things that shine through when we’re just skimming each other's curated social presence. It takes a little more trust, and a willingness to sometimes be a little more candid or more earnest, to step back toward truly sharing with a community. I hope I can help restore a sense of the value in doing so.

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More Media News

Hills Radio set for closure

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Mt Barker, SA station Hills Radio 88.9FM is now marked for closure, effective 30 September. 

The closure was made official after the ACMA awarded Lofty Community Media Inc the long-term community radio broadcasting licence for the 88.9FM frequency. 

Hills Radio started airing in 2014, but has shared the frequency with Lofty since November 2018. 

Formal applications for the full licence covering Mt Barker, however, have been filed with ACMA since October last year and Hills Radio were asked to detail to ACMA their business and coverage model.

“...in making its decision ACMA considered the extent to which the proposed services would meet the needs of the local community, and the capacity of the applicants to provide the proposed service. It considers that community participation and engagement are the cornerstone of community broadcasting. We considered that we more than met the greatest requirement, but ACMA considered our application did not meet that requireme

AAP receives fresh government funds

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) has received a new cash grant from the federal government, totaling $5m.

AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said the money, allotted under the Public Interest News Gathering program, is programmed to support the company’s operations, especially with uncertainties under the pandemic. The cash grant is covered under a funding agreement enacted with the AAP’s acquisition by an impact investment team led by Peter Tonagh.

At the time of the announcement, the AAP was running a GoFundMe campaign with around $120K raised so far and aiming for $500K.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented challenges for Australia’s regional media sector, with severe declines in advertising revenue threatening the sustainability of many news outlets. The AAP newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news. This allows regional mastheads to conc

Helping journos make the most of early morning announcements

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Last week was one of those classic weeks when there were multiple reasons for Australian journalists to get up before the sun – or stay up – to cover big events taking place in US focused timezones.
 
It’s something Australian sports fans have always endured if they want to catch the big global events live, so it’s not like tech and games are the only industries where this happens. But it’s one of those things that often gets a begrudging “here we go again” response from journos on social media.
 
But, for the most part, I think many of those who do get up early for these things enjoy the sense of occasion that such an early alarm means. Yep, it’s ‘just’ a new product, or a new game, and if the event isn’t super exciting in the end the cries of “I got up for this???” ring loudly across Twitter timelines. But, usually, if you’re covering this it’s because you already had a love for the

Northern Rivers Review set to emerge in October

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NSW’s Northern Rivers region is soon to be the subject of a new Australian Community Media (ACM) title, called the Northern Rivers Review. 

Scheduled to go live on 29 October, the Northern Rivers Review will be for readers in Lismore, Ballina, Richmond River, and Byron Bay. ACM is setting $2 for a print edition and $2 for a weekly digital subscription. 

Former The Lismore Echo editor Sophie Mueller has been appointed as the Northern Rivers Review’s editor. 

"Being a local business owner and having spent many years coming to the Byron area, I couldn't be happier to be launching a new publication in the area I care so much about. Our focus has been to listen to the people and build a local team, which will focus on local stories, issues and the region's best real estate,” said ACM chairman Anthony Catalano.

Tonic Health Media rebrands to Tonic Media Network

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Tonic Health Media has debuted its new business name: Tonic Media Network (pictured).

Company managing director/CEO Dr Matthew Cullen said the name change was driven by a need to expand the company’s business remit beyond being a simple health portal. This included the development of a new digital-out-of-home platform with Vistar, Hivestack, and Broadsign; the creation of the Chemist2U ecommerce platform, and the purchase of health content website mydr.com.au.

The company also had grown up to 50 staff since starting business in 2014.

“We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to connect people to relevant consumer messaging when they need it most and this rebrand is the latest evolution of that vision. Building upon Tonic’s existing reputation in the market, we’re excited to continue growing under this new banner to become the largest lifestyle, health and wellbeing media network in Australia,” added Cullen.

Lambert in charge of Women’s Agenda

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Women’s Agenda publisher and co-owner Tarla Lambert has taken over as editor-in-chief.

Co-founder and editor Angela Priestley said that after eight years running the editorial side of the company, she had opted to let Lambert run that side of the business. She herself will become the new strategy chief and creative director, in charge of podcasts and new partner content campaigns.

Lambert joined Women’s Agenda in 2015 as associate publisher but was moved up to publisher/co-owner in 2017.

“Building Agenda Media and @WomensAgenda with @angelapriestley and our dynamo team has been one of my biggest life highlights. I couldn’t be happier to be the new editor in chief and keep growing our footprint. Small, female-led teams do huge things,” Tweeted Lambert.

Follow Lambert on LinkedIn.

Harding flies home

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

KIIS 101.1 FM breakfast co-host Polly “PJ” Harding has flown home to New Zealand, reported Radio Today. 

Parent company ARN stated that she was opting to return home and set up a remote studio link to continue the show with Jase for the remainder of 2020. 

She will return to Australia in early 2021.

Stay tuned with Harding on Twitter @PJHardingZM.

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