Do you really know your audience?

When is the paper going to print something that is actually worth reading?

This is the question the man who encouraged me to read from a young age, by getting me to read the daily newspaper cartoons to him, my now 93-year-old father asked me this morning.

I am but a lowly commercial advertising copy writer and am not involved in the news gathering or story selection process at my work so I’m in no position to answer on behalf the news room but sadly, I had to agree with him.

My dad’s respect for newspaper did in some small way influence my determination to work in the industry, although it did take a while to get there. His words this morning have crashed around inside my head ever since and make me ponder if this new found direction of the media, digital, will have a reverse effect and hammer the nails into print media’s coffin all that much quicker. Regular readers like my dad don’t even know how to use a mobile phone and there aren’t any crosswords or Phantom strips on line.

Regional newspapers circulation has exhibited a decline, yes, but we are still out in front from our metro counterparts. The figures constantly quoted as reassurance of our job security confirm this so why reshape something that still fits into the community it is supposed to serve? The cross over to the new is loosing readers.

I know my opinion doesn’t count and my role is purely to make the advertisers happy so they spend more money with us which in turn means we all keep our jobs a bit longer but I’m going to say this anyway. What is wrong with you people? Wake up and meet the people in the community before you are called upon to mention them in a news brief or obituary.

Over the years I have established wonderful working relationships with a wide range of people in this region and all are wonderful sources of information if I need to call on them. They know me and I know them and they trust me. They will drop interesting story ideas, give me background if asked and even direct me to other interesting people but I’m not allowed to follow up on them. That is for the newsroom, not the advert copywriter.

I wonder if others have heard comments like my fathers, or if they would listen even if they did.

But I am just the low life commercial advertising copywriter. I just talk to the people in the community, listen to them and try to help their prosperity on a regular basis.  I have no hard feelings towards those employed to tell  local stories, you all just do what is on the news list handed to you. All I’m saying is to get to know the people who buy the paper regularly and not those who you give permission to be your friend on social media. They’re on line and more about what is happening on the weekend for them than what is happening in the community. I mean do you really know those people.

One of the first lessons my media university studies served up to me was know your audience. Connect with them and they will want to hear from you.  When stories are written for online publication it is obvious in print media.

Digital media. Phff. Do you really know your audience?

The online audience are unknown individuals and stories/clicks depend more on the first line  than ever before. It’s already been worked out that lazy people at a computer or on mobile technology are easily distracted by sensationalism but I think the trade is forgetting that real readers want to know facts and the full story.

Ill informed rant over. Thank you if you stay tuned long enough to finish reading.

Treasure hunting.

Hello. Long time no post, well at least on my Just Saying site anyway.

I’ve posted quickly on my photo site, A thousand words, but quick gets quick and although many click the “like” button a very small few take the time to actually look at the complete post choosing the “like” star on something that catches their eye and not going any further. Don’t get me wrong, a like acknowledgement is wonderful and greatly appreciated but sometimes a glance deprives the reader of the whole picture.  Photography is like that however, an easy read so I don’t have to explain the meaning behind my photo blog site name do I?

So other than the fact I’ve got a good number of likes and little to no site views there I think the first photo here could be more appreciated by my Just Saying audience.

I don’t often keep photos I’ve taken while on work jobs but I was tasked to complete two promotional pages for a local auction house yesterday and, as is usually the case, found myself snapping away for additional feature photos that also double as product reminders while I’m writing – a trick I use when time is limited and clients are especially busy.

I have never been one to attend auctions never lone frequent the storehouse  the items are held in prior to sale day so this was a wonderful step into the unknown for me. It is both lucky and unlucky that I don’t have any disposable income to go shopping with on their sale day because there are a few items that somehow know my name and are calling to me to take them home.  Especially this treasure I found myself stepping over to get a better shot of other items.

A web search tells me Royal Typewriters were introduced to Australia in 1911 by Sydney Pincombe, however news reports of 1948 mention that Sydney Pincombe had lost the Royal Typewriter agency sometime before 1947. This one needs some love and oh how I wish I could be the one to restore it.

A classic that needs some loving.

A classic that needs some loving.

 

The room/s were full of interesting items and their images will be used by my employer but here a couple my boss doesn’t get.

Bellows?

Bellows?

One of the more steady custom made sowing cupboards I've seen.

One of the more steady custom made sewing cupboards I’ve seen.

 

Looking forward

Today is March 15. The 64th day of the year 2014 and I’m struggling to accept so much can happen in such a short time.

So far I’m not liking 2014. Maybe the trauma and drama I’ve experienced so far has weakened my positive resolve or maybe it has all made me tired and intolerant. I don’t know what it is but I do optimistically hope there is only one direction the events of this year can go now and that is out of the negative and into the positive.

At particularly low points of the past 64 days I asked friends to share with me happy events of their day. I was disheartened by the lack of response. This exercise proved to me human nature appears to want to dwell on the negative rather than appreciate the moments of happiness.

I say it is no wonder the population of the world is experiencing an explosion of mental health issues.

Yes we all have problems and yes things happen that make us feel worthless, lonely and totally gutted but, even now at a personal low point of my life, I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my days.

My first step forward into the remaining days and nights of 2014 is to take control of my own happiness and feelings and not push the blame or responsibility for them on to other people. They are mine and mine alone and I have the choice to allow them to get me down or to motivate me to find a good, positive event in each and every day.

When a negative charge is connected to a positive one power is created after all. I’m going to use that power to ride this out and bulldoze my way through the remaining days of the year as it can only get better from here.

Eulogy for a fighter and my best friend.

It been six weeks since I said goodbye to my oldest and dearest friend who fought various forms of cancer for over six years.  Her family asked me to say the eulogy at her funeral. It was difficult to sum up a person who had been part of my life for over four decades. I’m sharing what I said as she was a quite achiever and battler and I miss her.  Thank you for sharing my therapy.

It is easy to make friends but old friends are years in the making.

When I told people I had been asked to do this they said it would be a hard thing for me to do.

It’s not hard. A good friend of mine showed me what hard was and how to take it on; head on with no complaint. This is not hard as I know once it is done, it is done. I only have to do it once.

This is difficult.

That friend had an inner strength that could have powered the world if you were able to harness it and courage beyond anyone I’ve ever met. She did what she had to do and took things one-step at a time but she always looked forward and never dwelled on the past.   She was an inspiration.

Daphne and I met in primary school. Year 2 in fact, she corrected me recently on that point, and we pretty much were part of each other’s lives ever since. We had so much in common. We were at the same school. We were both from big families, hers bigger than mine. We both had lots of big sisters and we were both the quite kids in the class. There were differences too such as she had a brother. I didn’t have one of those and when I asked my mum and dad if I could have a big brother they said no.

I’m pretty shore at that time she was already an aunty too. As I was having difficulty understanding why I couldn’t have an elder brother I simply couldn’t get my head around that at all.

I got to know each and every member of her family as she proudly spoke about them. You all meant the world to her. I know the last few years frustrated her as she didn’t want to burden or cause any of you pain. I also know one of the hardest things she faced as result of her ongoing treatments of the past years was not being about to see your mum for long periods. She didn’t complain however, she had to do what she had to do but family always came first to her and she loved you all very much.

I am deeply indebted to Janet and Narida for allowing me to be there to say goodbye. Today I see her off knowing she is at peace, no more fighting necessary, and that she knew she was loved.

My clearest memory in the South Tamworth Public School schoolyard would be at the beginning of our friendship. We had decided to play hopscotch and shared the responsibility of drawing up the hopscotch grid in the dirt. When we were finished it was easy to tell who did which bit. The wonky squares were my best effort while Daphnes’ were ruler straight lines with perfect angles to make a correct shaped box. She told me she was a year older than me and that my hand eye coordination and something called fine motor skills would improve with age. She knew this because her sister had told her so and then we laughed when we had to land sideways in my rectangle, borderline triangle, drawings that made the game more of a challenge.

Although she preferred everything to be as it should be she was never afraid of a challenge, which in hindsight could be why she put up with me for so long.

She put up with a lot too. We survived primary and high school and TAFE together and made many other friends along the way.  Some of the important ones are here today.

When it came to the other people we knew however we had a system. I remembered faces and Daphne remembered names. It was just how it worked.

In our late teenage years we decided to take a holiday. We both wanted to see the country we lived in before travelling overseas so we could tell people what Australia was like outside Tamworth.  I had my driver’s license and a car so we headed to the Warrumbungles. We camped in a beautiful spot of the national park and enjoyed the peace and quiet that only those places can provide.

We visited the observatory, mini world and decided, while we were close, we would do a day trip to the Dubbo Zoo. It was a good plan as we both wanted to see the zoo and all was going well until we were heading back to Coonabarabran and the car engine went bang.

We rolled into a roadside rest area and there the car stopped.

I confess, I might have lost the holiday mood as I opened the hood and stared blankly at the offending motor. I may have also said a few words a lady shouldn’t say when it dawned on me I had no idea what I was looking for never lone how to fix it if I found it.

Daphne however took charge and went for help. She had spotted a council vehicle parked in the rest stop and went off to find the driver rather than listen to my unproductive bad language. When she found him he was looking at a tree, which she later told me she thought was odd, and proceeded to tap him on the shoulder and politely ask if he could help us.

The poor man. She frightened the day lights out of him and he was still red faced from being caught urinating, el natural, when he got to my broken down car. He could no more fix the car than I could and he couldn’t even look at Daphne but he sent the NRMA out to us when he returned to Coonabarabran. Our holiday finished early with a nights stay at the local pub and we met some friendly locals who knew the council worker. They laughed with us.

We met lots of great people, experienced love for the first time and what it was like to lose it, had good times and bad, but I always knew she was there for me as I hope she knew I was for her.

There were times when we didn’t see each other for a while but when we caught up again we just had more to talk about including what we had been doing, what our families were up to and pretty much everything about ourselves.

It is safe to say Daphne knew more about me than any other person on this earth. She has taken with her stories and secrets about me that on-one will ever know. I hope she continues to keep them too as I don’t want a bad rap before I get a chance to explain myself first. I think she will. Please?

She taught me so much, the most important lesson however was how to draw straight lines in the dirt and how to make the most of them if they don’t quite work out the way I had planned.

There was a time when she may not have liked the company I was in but she refused to be pushed away by them and she stuck by me, never judged, and helped were ever she could.

I could stand here and talk for hours and still not cover half the adventures we had, trials we overcome together and good times we shared but that would be boring and I don’t want to make any one cry. She would be angry with me for doing either of those things. I didn’t see her angry very often but I always felt sorry for the person who made her that way. A quite, compassionate person’s anger is something to fear and even though curse words never made it past her lips the lash of her tongue was painful.

Daphne was a good listener, a voice of reason and a straight talker. Totally stubborn but always selflessly caring .   A second mum to my children, godmother to one, and the giver of “cool” gifts and chocolate.  She will be dearly missed as it is easy to make friends but old friends are years in the making.

Always laughing - even while undergoing treatment.

Always laughing – even while undergoing treatment.

Thank you Miss Jolie. Please visit again.

Eyes lit up with hope, cameras clicked continually and the region became obsessed with fame when Hollywood came to visit recently.

Regional NSW gets excited when Australian political figures drop in to “meet the people” so you can only image the frenzy when Hollywood star Angelina Jolie flew in on a commercial flight, literally out of the blue, to check out our corner of the world for possible locations for her upcoming movie.  She liked what she saw and the rest is now film making history and fast turning into a local legend. For this, I personally thank her, even though the chances of her ever seeing, never lone reading this is minuscule.  Thank you for the opportunity given to locals, the friendly and considerate way Universal Studios conducted business in our area and the much needed financial boost your choice gave our region.  Most of all, thank you Angelina for the experience.

The sign says it all.

The sign says it all.

What brought her here? A place that I have often photographed myself.  A beautiful railway station in the small town of Werris Creek around 30 to 40 minutes away from my home town, Tamworth. Well I think that was the main draw card but she finished using a number of locations in both towns before this part of the filming was wrapped up in mid December. It was amazing to see this town get excited about something not related to political PR or country music. It also gave locals an opportunity of a lifetime as the call went out for extras for the film, Unbroken.

Yes, I got caught up in the excitement, I won’t lie. Just the casting call was an amazing opportunity. The last time I remember this chance offered to our region was when an Australian film, The Picture Showman, was filmed here in 1977. My mum wouldn’t let me go to auditions but it was still very exciting to think you could see the likes of Aussie actors John Meillon and Garry McDonald in the town I lived in. I didn’t.

I didn’t actually see Miss Jolie either, although many did and by all accounts she was lovely, patient and accommodating to fans who were lucky enough to meet her. In all honesty, if Brad had been here too I might have made a bit more of an effort but alas, he wasn’t.  Sorry Angelina.

Unlike my own mother, I encourage my children to have a go when opportunity knocks so we rocked up for the auditions in Quirindi in October this year. For all but one of us it was more a bit of a lark to see what it was like. Not surprisingly I was the first to get a very polite phone call were I was told thank you but so many applied, sorry you weren’t chosen. It was the nicest rejection I’ve ever received it pretty cool to receive a call from Universal  Studios, never imaged I would get that in my life time. However my second son was chosen to be in the film for which I am extremely happy. His study of entertainment and drama meant he wanted seriously to be part of this. That was in November and when the crews arrived in early December, the region took up a newfound sport of celebrity spotting.

I inadvertently discovered a way to upset a newspaper photographer that I work with at this point. I bumped into him as he was heading out to one of the Tamworth filming locations and I quipped about him taking on a paparazzi role. He missed the quip as he jumped to bite my head off while explaining what he saw as the difference between news photos and those taken by paparazzi photographers. When photos of the sets and the action was strictly forbidden and those being taken were sneaky, hopeful distant shots through telescopic lenses I struggled with his logic but decided to keep my mouth shut because he was obviously sensitive about the subject.

Many people’s behaviour got a bit strange at this stage as some took early lunch breaks or time off work to go look at the action.  I even heard of locals who had family and friends stay with them over the short period the filming was in process so they could go from location to location in hope of getting a glimpse of the lovely Miss Jolie.

I actually felt a bit sorry for her as she was just trying to get the job done and she and the crew had to contend with people stumbling over each other for a view.  But the security and people involved, by all accounts, remained patient and polite. Don’t know about you but I get frustrated with interrupts when I’m focussed on the job at hand and I don’t have hoards of people wanting to watch me while I’m doing it, never lone wanting to meet me.

Many reported to me Angelina appeared to have lost a lot of body weight as stick think arms protruded from the loose fitting clothing she wore with supermodel style and I think every woman in the region is looking for a broad brimmed hat like the one she wore on a daily basis on set.  Thin or not, she looked spectacular, cool, calm and collected.

Some reported she had her children with her, I don’t know if that is true but it made me think of her in a new light. An amazing working mum working long hours in a foreign country. I complain about the hours I work and the lack of time I have to spend with my kids but the early mornings and late nights she was putting in here are only a part of what she is accomplishing.

Lucky for me the day my son was involved in the filming was the first day of my holidays and I could spend a bit of time with him and looking around the changes made to Werris Creek for the film.  It was great to see it firsthand. The railway station looked amazing and the railway carriages used were classically beautiful, I didn’t think any of their type still survived in Australia.  I have other photos of the train station set but I’m not going to publish them because you have to wait to see the film.

Unbroken, directed by Angelia Jolie and filmed in Australia, is due for release December 2014.

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Hello again.

Well, it has been a while. Sorry about that.

A lot has been going on in my neck of the woods ; one of which is that one of my wonderful sons has managed to bring my laptop back from the place that is all blue every time the start button is pushed.

Yay for him. I’ve just had to get all my “stuff” put back on it and operational which was too hard for a while.

It’s hard to believe 2013 is almost over. What a year?

I’m still trying to juggle being a mother and the bread winner. After over 22 years you would think I would know how to do it by now but like my kids, my work responsibilities have gotten bigger and I love both of them. This is where I am finding issues and why I feel like I’m wasting time sitting down and letting my fingers hit keys on a keyboard at home and for myself.

There is dust lying on everything and cat fur on the floor that just keeps coming back regardless of how often I vacuum. We’re running out of food in the cupboards again because I seem to clean up after one meal and have to start the next one.  Don’t even get me started on making sure there are clean, pressed cloths to wear. Ironing is one of my least favourite jobs in the world but I’m so loopy I can’t stand the sight of my children looking untidy in wrinkled clothing. Yes, I’m my own worst enemy in that little battle.

The boys do help a little, they wash the cloths when I ask them and one even folds them neatly in the cloths basket when he gets them off the line. I’m not complaining, I’ve just been a bit exhausted of late and a lot less tolerant.

Maybe this is where I should mention I’ve had to visit the doctor more often this year. I don’t like my doctor, even though she has helped me feel better. She is mean and likes the words “at your age”.

These words have really tested my tolerance. Please, I haven’t even achieved that magical number where I find it acceptable to ponder I’m getting old yet.  That would be the numbers five and zero put together. This time next year I aim to have revised those numbers and upped them to a six and a zero but that is next year.

So, back to my denial. The women in my family have a history of starting “the change” early and I’m continuing the tradition – that is all. I’m done with all that anyway. Just get it over and done with is all I ask because I have things that have to be done and I don’t need my stupid body slowing me down. I also don’t need a doctor, who looks to be the same age as me if not older, using these condescending words on me. As I said, I seemed to have lost a bit of my tolerance but not my common sense so I didn’t slap her after she used the phrase “at your age” a dozen times in the fifteen minutes I had booked for an appointment.

The other words she used were just as bad. Cut back on your coffee consumption she says like that is no big deal. Hello, no coffee, no function. Darn she knows how to hurt a person. There was a lot of other blah blah blah including it was okay for me to take up drinking a glass of wine a day, a big ask for a non-drinker, and to watch the amounts of salt and saturated fats in my diet. Oh yes, I almost forgot, she was intent on highlighting the fact that I am too short for my weight too.  Not by much but when you have a wound open why not rub some salt into it? Vulgar when apparently that is the only way I can have salt that she approves of.  Again, you may be a doctor but look in a mirror woman. I’m sorry, she had put herself on my bad side as it was with the horrible phrase and then she went all the way to the dark side after that.  I am not the old person she was looking for to torture and condemn. I am me and I’m not even 50 yet.

Oh yes, de nile (denial) is more than a river in Egypt.

Then she puts me on blood pressure medication. Sigh, it has begun. The first tablet I have to take every day. I fear it won’t take long and I’ll have the chemist making up bubble packs, split up into times and days of the week so I don’t forget what I have to have when or even worse, a collection of little bottles that are set on the table at meal times alongside the salt reduced tomato sauce.

Alright, that might be a slight over exaggeration.

All hail the mighty dollar.

 

After much speculation, things have become real for my colleges and I and for what it’s worth I believe reality and stupidity are marching hand in hand down the road in pursuit of money.

I’ve been absent from posting recently as I’ve had a distressing couple of weeks, personally and in my work life so forgive me if the sadness and stress of those weeks has now turned to anger.

What angers me is the blatant acknowledgement that decisions that turn lives upside down and inside out are based on cost and that money can be saved by withdrawing services from regional areas and eventually the entire country. Result, job losses all round as positions requiring skilled workers are given to whoever puts forward the lowest bid.

I’m angry because this devalues individuals, their work and the future of the regions affected by the cuts.

I’m angry as friends, that I spend so much time with each week I consider my second family, are left hanging with their future in doubt.

I’m angry as the industry that has stood up for so many has no one to stand up for it.

I’m angry and distressed as I don’t know what my future holds any more.

All hail the might dollar.

Can anyone tell me of a newspaper that hasn’t had a major impact on its community by raising awareness of local issues that could otherwise been brushed under the carpet or put in some higher powers too hard basket?

Bad news stories might sell a lot of papers but recording events, marking achievements, celebrating a success, advising the community of a loss and announcing family milestones are a few of the reasons why its purchased each and every day.

When it comes to recording the history of a community, newspapers have long been entrusted with the task. Even Julia Roberts’ character in the movie Notting Hill was distressed when the press published nude images of her. Her line went something along the lines of “newspapers are forever. Once it’s published it can’t be taken back. It’s always there.”  If I have that wrong I’m sorry, as far as I know the movie script wasn’t published and therefore was said and gone as the scene quickly flipped past on the movie screen.

A point from the announcement that sticks in my craw is the comment about how we, the team I am part of, is doing well. Of cause we are doing well we are still providing the right product to our local market.

Ah, but there isn’t as much money in regional areas. Of cause not, all the large businesses are pulling direct services out of the area and locating them in metro areas, oops there goes our young people so they can have a job future.

Regional papers have repeatedly covered businesses who have suffered the same fate, and managed to raise an outcry and community support.

But who is going to support newspapers?

Does anyone want to make a fuss over them?

Will the regional public miss local service when it is gone?

I’m not foolish enough to believe that the future of print media is bright and rosy but I for one am distressed watching its slow, silent demise.

 

Photo restoration thank you.

A quick catch up for those who haven’t seen it.

A lovely lady, and constant reader of mine, Roughseasinthemed, kindly directed one of her readers to my photo help post yesterday. Thank you for doing this. It’s good to know someone is reading my posts. ;-)

Vicky  has done an amazing job of correcting the damage on the photo as you can see here.

Restored.

Restored.

 

(c) Jillian Carlon 2013

The original. 

 

Vicky has done an amazing job and I can’t thank her enough. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated and I will let you know how I get on cleaning up the original.  Thank you for the advise on that too.

Just needed to share.