5 Minutes with Anthony Agius

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I collect the day's tech news and distill it into a single paid-for newsletter at thesizzle.com.au - I also do gear reviews at reckoner.com.au.
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
About a decade ago I ran MacTalk then sold it. You might also know me from an iOS developer conference called One More Thing (onemorething.com.au), going to New York to buy the first iPad, collecting over 1 million frequent flyer points from a botched NAB promotion and running a cryptocurrency mining farm.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
As early as I can remember I wanted to fix and play around with computers. I ticked that box pretty heavily.
Which story or stories are you most proud of?
My series of articles on Reckoner about Vodafone’s resurgence, the history of the NBN and more that lead to us winning a Lizzie in 2013.
What's your secret superpower?
Turning fine print legal bullshit into human readable information.
What are three top tips you can give PR pros for working with you effectively?
Give me all the information you can in writing then let me explore myself. If I have questions I'll let you know. Verbal/hands-on demonstrations bore me.
How do you like to start a PR relationship if you've never been in touch before?
An email that explains who I am and why my audience might care about what you're trying to promote.
What's the most important lesson you've learned about journalism?
The audience probably doesn't care about the same things you care about.
How do you hunt for good stories?
Listen to others and see what excites or upsets them.
What's been the biggest change in the industry over the past decade?
Social media. It's where all the eyeballs are now.
What do you think is the most important issue facing the tech industry today?
Social media being used to spread disinformation. It's slowly eroding sensible society around the world. Humanity is struggling to parse all the information instantly spewed at them 24/7.
What's the biggest issue facing journalism?
A lack of transparency about who's publishing what and why they're publishing it.
Exclusives are everything. Discuss.
Finding a topic nobody has explored before or an angle on a topic that's fresh is a great feeling and a good starting point for further investigation or more detail.
What do you wish you'd never have to explain to readers ever again?
The concept of monitor resolution and pixels per inch.
Name a recent story you wish you'd written.
I couldn't think of anything recent, so I'll dig out Neal Stephenson's "Mother Earth Mother Board" from a 1996 issue of Wired: https://www.wired.com/1996/12/ffglass/
Who is the best journo in the industry and why?
Ry Cozier seems to be the journo I seem to quote the most in The Sizzle. Excellent coverage of the telco scene in Australia. 
Which industry publications, podcasts or other productions are on your unmissable list?
I don't listen or watch many tech related videos or podcasts and still prefer getting my info in text form. I read almost every article on The Verge, Ars Technica, Anandtech, iTnews, ZDNet Australia, and Reuters technology section daily.
How do you keep up with what your colleagues are writing?
RSS! Please don't kill them off in any site redesigns.
Which app has changed your life more than any other?
Google Maps.
Favourite screen-free hobbies?
Going to the footy to watch North Melbourne win.
What's your best party trick?
Having some stupid anecdote about almost any random topic.
What's your go-to song at karaoke?
Beastie Boys - So What'Cha Want
Favourite sporting moment?
North's 1996 premiership, still vivid in my memory!
Have you ever been said to resemble a famous person or character? If so, who?
Someone told me I remind them of Tony Soprano once. I'll take it as a compliment.
What's your favourite game of all time?
Grand Theft Auto 4
Name five discs you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island?
Radiohead - OK Computer
Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age
Regurgitator - Unit
Nirvana - Nevermind
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
What was your favourite TV show of the 2010s?
Mr. Robot
What vices do you lean into when you're chasing a tight deadline?
Eating an entire box of pizza flavoured Shapes instead of a proper meal.
What's the most ridiculous buzzword in the industry?
The use of cyber to describe anything online still cracks me up.
The PR fairy calls saying you can have the interview of your dreams. Who's it gonna be?
NBN's CEO doped up with a truth serum.

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Dr Bulent Hass Dellal is stepping down as the chairman of SBS, effective 2 June 2020.

The exit is in line with the SBS Act which mandates board memberships of no more than ten years. 

Hass Dellal joined the team as director in 2010 but was reappointed for three more years in 2015. He had been acting chairman for a year when the board made his role permanent in 2017. The SBS board has yet to appoint a successor.

“I have had so many proud moments, in particular, during these unprecedented times as SBS has responded to the coronavirus pandemic. The content and services that SBS has been providing to keep so many Australians informed and safe exemplify its vital role and value to our society,” said Hass Dellal of his time in the company. 

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The baby steps toward seeing each other again in person have begun. For all the difficulties of life in isolation, the reopening process brings its own anxieties. Very small events are likely to be a starting place, given the rules. Though I guess in some cities you could book out a restaurant and have 50 guests at the event very soon? In others you still need to stay home.
I've had one company reach out to gauge sentiment ahead of planning anything in June. It was a very nice gesture, and afterward they said things were 50:50 on how comfortable people were feeling about coming to a real world event again. It's the early days, and I think it's a sensible worry that this first wave of reopening cities is when we have the least grasp on whether it will trigger new infections or not.
I think the most valuable lesson that can be taken forward relates to the column I wrote as it was all beginning. It would be a terrible shame if anyone tried to shake this off and

News Corp Australia shutters regional papers

By Elliott Richardson and Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NewsCorp Australia has dealt a massive blow to local news coverage after it announced a closing of 14 community newspapers and 22 regional papers, and a transition to digital for a further 100.

The content that some of the soon-to-be-closed titles carry will be reassigned to other mastheads.

The transition and closures come as the latest in a line of local news shutdowns, impacting thousands of journalists.

For many regional towns and cities, locals have long-relied on their local newspaper to keep them informed of important stories and events. 

While some will transfer to digital in order to keep the papers alive, many residents aren’t in the position to pay for a NewsCorp digital subscription, restricting their access to important local news.

Closures and digital transitions will come into effect on 29 June, as outlined below. Metro papers The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Melbourne Herald Sun, and The Adelaide Advertiser will be tweaked to carry more state c

Kiama Community Radio to go live

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The NSW south coast will have a new digital radio station next month, called Kiama Community Radio.

Radioinfo reported that a number of local residents have volunteered to work on the new endeavour, which is aimed at listeners in the Kiama LGA from Minnamurra to as far west as Jamberoo. 

The team spent the past month on crowdfunding efforts, and is planning a one-hour weekly show over its official website, then expanding the content to webcasting and podcasts. Actress Diana McLaren has agreed to host the new show.

“The idea for KCR came about when we were all suddenly told to stay home, and all the ways we usually connect to each other were taken away from us, particularly for the older generations within our community. There’s a lot of global information available right now, but nothing that is specific to our own backyard,” said Graeme Gerashe, a member of the station’s organising team. 

“We are hoping that this new service will reignite ou

Print IT! B2B magazines May 2020

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The April-May Information & Data Manager has quite a few insights into government data management, including efforts to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. One story looks at Georges River Council's rapid digital transformation. What had been planned as a phased transition over two years was executed in "around a week" to deal with the situation. Naturally, it's an ongoing process but it's an interesting look at whether ripping the band-aid off might be a better path in future. Another nice local IDM story explores what the Turnbull autobiography leak means for document management in publishing.
The latest Electrical Comms Data takes a close look at security on a number of fronts, leading with a feature by Editor Amy Steed on the rise of smart home devices and the questions around their security. The story talks to Swinburne researchers about the kinds of flaws their research is finding in these devices, such as memory leaks that create vulnerabil

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The Wimmera Mallee News in Wimmera, Victoria, has added a new publication to its roster, called the Horsham Times.

Premiering on May 29, the Horsham Times is actually a revival of the first Horsham Times that was in print from 1886 to 1959 when it merged with the West Wimmera Mail to become the Wimmera Mail-Times. 

The Mail-Times, however, was among the ACM titles shut down last month over lower ad revenues, along with sister titles Stawell Times-News and Ararat Advertiser, and Horsham residents needed fresh news and information. 

Wimmera Mallee News managing editor David Ward said the plan calls to hire six people for the new Horsham Times’ editorial board and lease office space in Horsham proper. 

He also sees the move as a link to the past. 

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Subject Line Real Estate Is A Precious Resource

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


"[Company Name] Announcement"
That's the actual subject line of a press release email I received yesterday. It's... not good. But it's also not the worst I've seen in recent times.
The worst are those that put in so much preamble that the content of the subject is hidden because there's no email software on Earth that shows more than the first 12 words (if the words are short).
"Press Release: New tool helps measure sustainability impact..."
What's the tool? Who is making it? Is there a wow stat lurking inside? Don't tease me. Don't build suspense. Don't make me think. Just hit it fast and hard. Why should I open this email? What is your company announcing that means I want to write about it?
It's vital to remember that our job is not reading your emails. It is finding the best stories to write for our audience on whatever timeline we need to work under.
We don't read

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