Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Figures Didn't Add Up

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Figures Didn't Add Up

Article excerpt

FIRSTLY, let's get a run down of your career: how it started and why you became a journo?

My first job was with S.H Tait and Co as a cadet accountant but I quickly realised I was flat out adding up two and two. I applied for a cadet journalist position advertised in the Daily Mercury on the strength of a B in English and somehow got the job.

What was it like when you started, do you remember your first story?

It was probably a weather story, we were big on maximums and minimums in those days. My colleague Loris Wall who started before me and is still going strong was doing a kids' column called Auntie Dot which she flick-passed to me, for which I'll be forever grateful as that was my first experience at making things up.

The old Daily Mercury newsroom in Wood St consisted of a few old desks, ratty old typewriters, '50s-style phones and that's about it. To tell you the truth, it was terrifying for a 17-year-old to be approaching people for stories.

Do you have a favourite story or stories?

Possibly my "scoop" that the Bulldogs were going to bring a NRL match to Mackay. Page 1 material. Greg Sutherland was very good at working the media, not that I'm saying he ever leaked anything.

Was there ever a desire to leave the region?

I joined the Courier-Mail in about 1976 after seeing the world and Commonwealth table tennis championships in England. I worked there for about a year but quickly realized I preferred regional journalism, and came back to Mackay. Plus I missed our beaches.

Best sportsman you've covered?

So many of them, especially our great league players like Wendell and Co. But I'd have to say world bullride champion Troy Dunn. Troy was a champion in the world's most dangerous sport but he's always remained a country boy who just wants to have fun and he's never turned his back on his home town, bringing some great bullriding events here. …

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