interview with a QUT journalism student
1. Do you believe the internet is making it easier for emerging writers to get published or harder?
You need to set your parameters first. If you’re referring to being published in a professional sense, then one would imagine it’s making it easier: there are more platforms, the means of production is more egalitarian and the space is virtually limitless. Is professional defined by some form of commercial consideration, though? The great cry going up across the Internet is “we don’t want to give our work/writing/art/music away for free” (or, alternately), “We do want to…” Define being published, as well: it has always been simple to publish your own work in your own magazine or journal if that is what you require. It is even more transparently simple to do this online. The equation is complicated however because it is now too simple, and old definitions of “writers”, “critics”, “journalists” fall by the wayside as everyone discovers what they should have already known: that having a typewriter facilitates ease of communication. Plus, no one knows where to look any more.
2. I spoke to the event organiser for the Brisbane writers’ festival and she said books and print will always have a place in the world, what do you think?
The parallel I tend to use is radio/television. Everyone expected radio to disappear – both commercially and aesthetically – with the onslaught of television. Clearly, it didn’t. Everything finds its place, its level: and that level is changing the entire time. The advance of the Internet has simply thrown that change into sharper relief. Some folk simply prefer to read stuff in printed form, same as some folk prefer to hear stuff without a moving picture to distract them. Now how about that? Folk are habitual: all mediums have a fetish value.
3. How has the emergence of blogging, multimedia, citizen journalism, affected the writing industry?
Made it lazier, more scared, harder to please, easier to fool and ultimately more fun. It’s worth remembering that the Internet is a technological tool, not an art form in itself – although of course the art form always adapts to suit the medium. On the Internet, what’s more important than being in-depth or doing your research or being interesting, is being first – that’s how you get your traffic and ultimately your finance. This is bound to have a knock-on effect on the writing industry as a whole.
4. In Brisbane, as a freelance writer, how difficult has it been for you to get published in print?
I’m not sure the question really applies to me. The Courier-Mail doesn’t like to use me, doubtless feeling that my standard of writing is too dissimilar – likewise, the local street press. I don’t really knock myself out, trying to get publications I don’t enjoy reading to use me: it seems counter-intuitive. If I published my own print magazine then I would be getting printed on a regular basis. I don’t.
5. What advice do you have for emerging / graduating writers trying to break into the Brisbane industry?
Is there one? Publish your own magazine. Oh, and be prepared to work. And don’t take rejection personally – it’s rarely intended that way.