Paper talk: the 2016 AGP

It has been a strange, strange week. As has become tradition the past few years, I spent at least part of my Australian Grand Prix weekend working for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers. Plans were hatched, story plans sorted. And then a strike by journalists on both papers threw things into chaos.

On this first day of the race weekend, I had no idea whether I was working for a paper, its online version, neither, both … as it turned out, it was business as usual for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to carry out the plans we’d agreed upon beforehand, and nothing more. I was keen to fulfil my commitments, but not do what some would in the circumstances by taking on more work to get their name plastered across both papers at a difficult time.

What wasn’t as enjoyable was not being able to work with several full-timers, pros in the business who I respect greatly, who were on strike for a cause close to them and one I sympathise with. What I also didn’t like was the pressure placed on me by some journos (not the afore-mentioned ones I didn’t get to work with, other types who felt they should weigh in) that I should somehow stand down from my commitments over the weekend in a show of solidarity or something else that must have escaped me. I’m a freelance, and as such will make my own decisions as to who I want to work with and when. I feel sympathy for the people about to lose their jobs in an industry that’s going to hell in a handbasket – but who feels sympathy for me when I do a job for six months and don’t get paid, or don’t take paid leave (or any leave, let’s be honest), or my pathetic superannuation, or any other aspects of being a freelancer that can be difficult? Nobody sheds a tear for me then, not that I want them to. Spare me the questioning of my moral compass. I don’t meddle in your work issues, and I sure as hell don’t want you meddling in mine.

Minor rant over, some linkage from the weekend:

Ricciardo shines in the gloom

Ricciardo to start from eighth

The moment Daniel Ricciardo grew up

Rosberg wins as Ricciardo surges to fourth

Ricciardo hungry for more

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One comment

  1. Well said, mate. From posts I’ve read on FB in the last few days, there are certain journos at The Age who have NO IDEA that simply complaining about the current situation won’t magically return them to the salad days of yesteryear. The idea that “we had job cuts a few years ago, how can we be having them again now?” is frighteningly and willfully naive.

    Media as we knew it is over, and frankly, going on strike can in no way fix the situation because it’s not a simple management decision that should be reversed, or something that can be beaten back in the face of solidarity to the cause, it’s that the entire industry is stuffed, for a variety of reasons, not least this medium that we’re communicating on here.

    The amount of denial in evidence is massive, although not unexpected. Even when change is smashing down your door and torching your house, it’s still hard to accept that it is happening. I know, and I empathise. But being so very loud in your denial just adds to the (correct) public perception of cluelessness about the realities of the world, a curious position for journalists to willingly place themselves in.

    Stick to your guns.

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