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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Ugly Phil out of FIX FM

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Phil O’Neil, AKA Ugly Phil, has exited UK radio station FIX FM.

Radioinfo reported that he was made redundant earlier this week. One of his last shows was an Instagram chat late last week with former The Superjesus frontwoman Sarah MacLeod.

O’Neil had been with the station since coming back home from Australia last year, where he spent 30 years in multiple stations, including SEA FM and Triple M.

Horizon earns Relationships Australia NSW account

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Relationships Australia NSW has enlisted the Horizon Communications Group to run its media relations account, reported Mumbrella.

The new deal involves joint efforts to generate content to help keep families under the COVID-19 quarantine stay in touch with each other. The rationale for the coverage is to ease the stress loved ones face from being asked to remain home.

“With COVID-19 dominating our lives, it is more important than ever to maintain healthy, functioning relationships with our loved ones and colleagues,” said Horizon founder Liz McLaughlin.

“We hope that the work we carry out with Relationships Australia, NSW will reassure Australians that there is support out there, no matter what your personal circumstances might be, to help navigate the challenges presented by these uncertain times.”

ARN sets up Easter schedule

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Australian Radio Network (ARN) has rolled out a new schedule for the Easter break, reported Radiotoday.

Each station will also throw in their special promotions.

For KIIS FM, ARN will prepare the House of Hits at 11AM, and from 7PM to 9PM. The Will & Woody and 3PM Pick Up shows will be on highlight shows and return to normal programming on 20 April. 

For KIIS FM in Melbourne, Jase and PJ in the Morning are out this week but will resume airing on 14 April on extended hours from 6AM to 10AM.

At GOLD 104.3, the Christian O’Connell breakfast show will be airing highlights while O’Connell himself will be on air during specific periods.

For Sydneysiders, KIIS 106.5’s the Kyle & Jackie O Show will air highlights and the Hour of Power at 8AM, 12 noon and 6PM will be extended, while Jonesy and Amanda’s block at WSFM will have the Light Relief special with highlights of the year so far.

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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 fin

Naughton takes over as SMH/The Age lifestyle editor

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Julia Naughton has taken up the lifestyle editor post for the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age.

The position will have her processing content from fields including health and wellness, life and relationships, and fashion.

She was assigned to the papers after completing three years as Nine’s managing editor for lifestyles, entertainment and partnerships.

Follow Naughton on Twitter @JuliaNaughton and LinkedIn.

NOVA shows to air on Easter holiday

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NOVA Entertainment will be airing its shows over the Easter break.

The plan calls for the network’s breakfast shows in each state - Fitzy & Wippa (NOVA 96.9 Sydney), Chrissie, Sam & Browny (NOVA 100 Melbourne), Ash, Kip & Luttsy & Susie O’Neill (NOVA 106.9 Brisbane), Ben & Liam (NOVA 91.9 Adelaide), and Nathan, Nat & Shaun (NOVA 93.7 Perth) – to broadcast starting 6 April, with their stations' usual programming to continue until 3PM.

The Kate, Tim & Marty Drive show will take over on national syndication from 3PM to 6PM followed by Fitzy and Wippa (6PM-7PM) and Smallzy’s Surgery (7PM-10PM).

“There is a strong desire as humans to feel like we're a part of something and we're hearing from so many of our listeners (most in isolation) how much it means to them to still be able to wake up and continue to listen to their favourite shows throughout the day,” said NOVA chief programming/marketing officer Paul Jackso

Signature Media acquires Vacations and Travel

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Signature Media has purchased Vacations and Travel magazine from the Morris Media Network, reported Mediaweek.

Originally geared towards luxury travel and family vacations, Signature is now repurposing the title towards a broader travel audience. The purchase will cover the print edition, official website, and social media channels. However, no print issues will be made until summer 2020-2021 due to concerns over the COVID-19 crisis.

Jac Taylor continues as editor, as do digital staff members Anya Vokhmyakova and Eliza Valk. Veteran staffer Helen Hayes is back on the crew as editor-at-large.

“The acquisition of Vacations & Travel magazine gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a much larger market, targeting different age groups and travel types, from cost-conscious travellers up to the discerning high-end luxe connoisseur and everyone in between,” declared Signature Media CEO/group editor Cathy Wagstaff.

“I have to admit, I was ecstatic to hear that it mi

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