I’m driven to keep writing for the same reason that got me started: I love it. It’s absorbing. I like finding out new information, highlighting injustice, talking to academics about research and to ordinary people about their lives.
For about 18 years I worked for the Sydney Morning Herald as a weekly columnist, social issues reporter and feature writer. Since I left a couple of years ago I’ve become a blogger, writing for baby boomers and older people about issues to do with this stage in our lives. It’s a rich field. My blog is called Coming of Age and the topics range from age discrimination in employment, rip-off hearing aid centres, living with your adult children, and how not to dress like a senior. Light and shade, as they say.
I became a journalist because I loved writing and was inquisitive, and had run the school newspaper. I was among the last group to be hired as a cadet out of high school (on The West Australian) and went to university part-time to complete an Arts degree. It was very competitive then to get a cadetship, a main criteria being, it seemed, to have a relative in the business (which I lacked). But unlike today you didn’t need a law degree, PhD, and body of published work.
Every journalist worth their salt writes to make a difference. With blogging, I’ve learnt new ways of writing and have been fortunate to attract an amazing band of readers and erudite commentators, making this new phase of my life an enjoyable exercise in collaboration.
Copyright has been very important to me. My weekly Sydney Morning Herald columns on social issues were frequently reprinted and used in schools, universities, and other publications. Apart from providing a significant boost to my annual income, the copyright protection meant people could not easily ‘steal’ my words and ideas which were my tools of trade. As a blogger, the terrain is different I’m finding. Many online publications expect reprint rights for free, a situation I’m reluctant to accept.
Adele Horin began her career on The West Australian newspaper, and later worked for the weekly newspaper The National Times in Sydney, New York and London. After a stint on the Life Matters program on ABC Radio National, she joined The as both a weekly columnist and news and features writer. She has had a long-standing interest in issues affecting women and children, social justice and social change. She won a Walkley award for a series on Sex in Australia (back when no-one was writing about it) and has twice won the Australian Human Rights Commission award for metropolitan newspaper journalism.