Ray Shaw, Technology Journalist, iTWire
- How did you get into journalism?
I was one of the original PR graduates from the Bachelor of Business degree from the Queensland Institute of Technology (now QUT) in the early 70’s. I did a stint at the Queensland Courier Mail to hone my journalism skills and corporate writing has been a large part of my life since.
- What’s the best thing about working in journalism?
I have worked on both sides as a PR and a Journalist. Every journo I know wants to be a PR but not vice versa (probably because of the money!)
True journalism is about getting to the root of a story, writing it for a particular audience, and being precise and unbiased – call it the pursuit of the ultimate story and the truth.
There are too many so-called journalists who are little more than bloggers. I think there is too little adherence to the Journalist Code of Ethics, especially where bias – for or against – is concerned. For example, one tech “blognalist” I know cannot write a positive word about one vendor but espouses their competitor ad nauseam. True journalism tells it as it is – it should report the news, not make it.
For me, journalism allows me a certain creative expression, satisfaction in writing, and keeps my mind active.
- What’s been your best story or the story you’ve been most proud of?
A good journalist does not seek accolade or acceptance from others, so I don’t think that way. The challenge for me is to add my value and style to what I write. I learn more every day so what I thought was a good article a few months ago may not be so today.
The audience is the greatest critic, and I am pleased that my readership statistics are consistently amongst the highest at iTWire.
- What does the future look like for journalists given all the changes?
Having been on both sides, I think traditional journalism has a sunset clause – the bloggers – now the lowest common denominator – will eventually become the news sources and bias/cash for comments is a huge issue. That is going to present a challenge to PRs.
These days the journalist has to be a researcher, photographer, writer, editor, tweeter, and promoter.
Time is the enemy, and a good symbiotic relationship between PRs and journalists will yield the best results. Give us the leads, do as much as you can to make our lives easier, and make more time for us.
- Have you ever made a stuff-up on the job and what was it? Any other funny stories?
I would like to say I am perfect, but experience says otherwise. I don’t believe I have stuffed up at iTWire, but recently I did a batch of interviews and recorded these on a smartphone. The problem was it was a review phone, and I reset it before sending it back – it had four interviews on it that I cannot replicate. Whoops.
But I believe in fail quickly and frequently so you can continuously learn and improve.
- Name three people you would like to have round for drinks
Believe it or not in my 40+ years in business – my former life – I have had drinks with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, almost all notable politicians and A-listers, and many other luminaries. The secret is not to be backward about coming forward and pursuing your dreams – that includes approaching people you want to know.
And at my age, I have learned however that there is little I can do to change the world.
So my short answer is they would have to be wonderful conversationalists, interesting, and willing to unconditionally share – let’s all entertain each other and see where it leads.
- Where would we find you in your spare time?
News never sleeps. I tend to work most of the time.
My wife and I relax at a LUX/Gold Class cinema occasionally (action and sci-fi), go for walks, eat out frequently, take long holidays free from budget constraints (just came back from two weeks in NZ and have just booked four weeks in Europe for next year), and enjoy life.
- If you weren’t a journalist you’d be a….
Again the wrong question for someone who is in the latter stages of a career. I do what pleases me – follow the passion, not the money – so I chose to be an IT journalist. My dream job on lousy pay!
If you knew my illustrious past (high powered business person, MD, Board Chairman, etc.), you would understand that answer. I have done everything I want to – je ne regrette rien!