Bernard Zuel is senior music writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.
He was visiting Brisbane in early April as a guest speaker at the inaugural Rock and Roll Writers Festival, so after a day of inspiring and enlightening discussions about all things music writing, we went back to his hotel room in Fortitude Valley to talk more about that very topic. I've been reading his album reviews and features in The Sydney Morning Herald for years, so it w as a treat to pick the brains of one of Australia's most prolific and enduring writers in this field.
In 2016, Bernard is actually one of very few journalists in the country to be employed as a full-time music writer for a newspaper. We talk about this very fact, and the shrinking nature of such jobs, as well as how he chooses which artists to write about; how he manages to juggle writing up to six album reviews per week; how he prefers to take notes in dark rooms when attending concerts; why he hates the five-star ranking system; the value he sees in writing negative music criticism, and why he now uses voice recognition software rather than typing.
Bernard Zuel has been writing about music since typewriters, C90 mixtapes and coming home stinking of everyone else’s smokes. Having written for RAM, Rolling Stone and street press, and talked on TV/radio for anyone who asked and paid nothing, he’s been covering arts at The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media for more than 20 years, the past 12 or so as senior music writer and chief critic. He still buys records and discs and sound files because it’s great.
Show notes and links to what was discussed in this episode: http://penmanshippodcast.com/episode-22-bernard-zuel/
Bernard Zuel on Twitter: @BernardZuel
Penmanship on Twitter: @PenmanshipAU
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at Brisbane Times.
He was one of the original team recruited to work at Fairfax Media's new online news outlet when it was launched in 2007, and today he remains one of only a couple of reporters who has worked at Brisbane Times since its inception. Before that role, though, Tony has enjoyed a long career as a journalist in Queensland. I first met him about a year ago, when I sent an email to ask whether he'd be open to sharing one of his sources with me for a story I was working on. This type of request can go either way, as some journalists are extremely protective of their sources and wary of sharing with their workmates, let alone a freelancer like myself, but the fact that Tony welcomed me with open arms says a lot about his character.
We met at his home in the inner-city suburb of West End on a Friday afternoon in March, when he and his Brisbane Times colleagues happened to be on strike for the day, in solidarity with their colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne, after Fairfax Media announced plans to cut 120 full-time equivalent jobs from newsrooms at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. We began by speaking about what these job losses will mean for consumers of Australian journalism, before moving on to discuss Tony's early interest in environmental sciences, and the link he has noticed between science and journalism; his early years working at The Queensland Times in Ipswich, where he saw the rise of an influential figure in Australian politics from up close; the character traits he has observed about the young reporters who excel in this business; why he lost the ability to speak for several months, and how he overcame this affliction; and how a long-running series of stories led to the funding of a major Queensland infrastructure project.
Tony came to Fairfax Media and Brisbane Times after working at The Queensland Times in Ipswich where he worked as a reporter, chief of staff and deputy editor over 14 years. At Ipswich he started affairs with the Ipswich Motorway, southeast Queensland's population growth and how Brisbane and Ipswich needed to play nicely together. They are affairs which continue to this day, though he is yet to tell his wife and two daughters, who are more interested in netball, basketball, circus and the rebuilding of the Brisbane Lions. Tony is a cricket tragic who realised early in his career that being straight-driven for six was less than encouraging for a Brisbane swing bowler. It took a ceremonial hip and shoulder bump to end his career as a young ruck-rover spreadeagled along the boundary fence at Wests at Chelmer. He remembers The Stranglers and Xero at Festival Hall, The Birthday Party at Souths Leagues Club and the Royal Exchange Hotel when it was a Triple Zed venue. Dimly. Tony was born and still lives in Brisbane, went to Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University.
Show notes and links to what was discussed in this episode: http://penmanshippodcast.com/episode-21-tony-moore/
Tony Moore on Twitter: @eastTMoore
Penmanship on Twitter: @PenmanshipAU