This is not so much one of my regular rants but, if you’ll forgive me, a short moment of self-absorbed reflection.
I’ve turned 70 today and, yes, sharing August 1 with all horses in the southern hemisphere is sadly about the only valid connection/comparison I have with that species.
But, at a quick calculation, today marks some 53 continuous years of a love-affair with journalism, particularly with the printed newspaper, and creative writing that I hope pleased and offended people in equal measure.
It all began at Gatton College when the editor of the student newspaper was rather hands-off, and it was left to me to throw together issues of Theoptice (based on the college motto, Theory with Practice) and a scurrilous in-between shitsheet appropriately named Cloaca.
What followed were three years at Queensland Country Life, a year at Warwick Daily News, six years at The Courier-Mail and many many years running into the ground the journos’ publishing business Liberty Press, borne out of the five-week, metropolitan dailies strike over new technology 40 years ago.
There was full-time work back in the mainstream at the Daily and Sunday Suns in the late 1980s and the best part of a year working on various famous London mastheads in 2000.
My two proudest achievements were to help establish in 1989 the satirical newspaper The Bug and the inner-Brisbane community paper The Independent, which ran from 2001 to about 2015 before I sent it broke as possibly Australia’s worst business manager.
So with the net version of The Bug still chugging away relentlessly, it means I’ve been a journo cum publisher for a bloody long time now.
I may not have covered war zones or won Walkleys but my career as a journo has been an absolute hoot and I’ve met some amazing people on the way.
So let’s not spoil this little reminisce by talking about the sad state of journalism in Australia at the moment.
I’ll do that in various rants down the track.