I am a journalist, now with Four Corners on the ABC. We produce long-form television programs on national issues for a prime-time audience. I’ve written non-fiction for 15 years but writing for Four Corners is a whole new discipline.
Since I’ve been at the program, I’ve reported on corruption in campaign financing, the infiltration of Asian organised crime into Australian casinos and the crisis of academic standards in Australian universities, among many other topics. It’s a job where you have to become a subject matter expert as fast as you can, only to have to discard all that information just as quickly to make room for the next load.
My career as a journalist began with editing a university magazine, it was such rollicking fun that I kept at it. To be honest, I still can’t quite believe I’m paid to be a trouble-maker.
In a way, I believe it’s important as a reporter to try to remain an idealist; that way you have something against which it’s possible to hold the powerful to account. A sense of outrage is similarly important. If journalists are going about their daily grind and never feel appalled or alarmed by what’s happening in the body politic, they’re almost certainly in the wrong field!
In an era where words and pictures are as plentiful as Wi-Fi, it’s important that people who do the hard yakka to write and produce credible and reliable information feel a sense of acknowledgement and recognition of that work. It’s always been the case, but in today’s hyper-connected world, copyright has never been more important.