Linux.conf.au coverage trimmed: January a writing write-off

So my January was a bit of a failure. I didn’t do much reassessment of the journalism and other writing I do. The cancellation of the Patch Monday podcast and my Linux.conf.au coverage killed off income. And I spent too much money. Sigh.

If you’re not interested in my personal thought processes, skip this post. I know I would.

Linux.conf.au first. While I did think about ways to generate funding for coverage at the same level as last year, the time was too short. If I got to Canberra somehow, I could still pitch stories to editors as usual, but cashflows were tight. Then Pia Waugh invited me to interview Sir Tim Berners-Lee for iiNet as part of their sponsorship of the TBL Down Under Tour. Two nights accommodation were offered. So hey, I went to Canberra for a couple days.

I ended up filing just one story. Instead of a solid income-generating week to counteract the December-January slump, it was a loss-maker.

Want a picture? I’ve added January to my chart of stories written, and I’ve changed the title to “media objects” because I’ve added the Patch Monday podcast to the ZDNet total. I’ve also added a mysterious black line. The recent slump is clear.

Chart of media objects produced 2011-2013

So, the current status of my thinking-about-writing thing since my last update?

Continue reading “Linux.conf.au coverage trimmed: January a writing write-off”

Weekly Wrap 139: Canberra, Linux, alcohol and the web

Vietnam War Memorial, Canberra: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 28 January to Sunday 3 February 2013 started quietly, was ridiculously chaotic in the middle, and then went back to quiet at the end.

I decided to take advantage of the Australia Day holiday weekend and catch up on sleep rather that stress too much about getting to Linux.conf.au from Monday.

But I did fly to Canberra on Wednesday, eventually. More about that tomorrow. I spent Thursday and Friday at the conference. More about that tomorrow too.

On Saturday I made my first ever visit to the Australian War Memorial, taking a few photos along the way. Impressed.

Podcasts

None.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday I recorded a video interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web, along with Australian internet bloke Simon Hackett and British actor, comedian and writer Robert Llewellyn. This was a project for iiNet, and the video will appear on the website some time in the coming week has finally appeared.
  • On Friday I was interviewed by a journalist from Radio 2SER’s program on the media, The Fourth Estate, but it’s for next week’s episode so I’ll link to it then.

Corporate Largesse

Still none. Something must be very wrong in the world.

The Week Ahead

As far as I can tell, it’ll just be a plod-through week of writing, most of it spent at Wentworth Falls. After the chaos of the last two weeks, that’ll be welcome.

I’ll also return to the near-daily blog posting that I had going there for a while. Probably.

[Photo: Vietnam War Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra. I was particularly impressed with this memorial, especially the imagery and the wall of quotes, as well as the true colours of Australia nearby.]

[Update 25 February 2013: Added link to Sir Tim Berners-Lee interview.]

So who’s paying for me to cover Linux.conf.au 2013?

Linux.conf.au 2013 logo: click for conference websiteIt’s exactly one week until I’m meant to be in Canberra for Linux.conf.au 2013, but ZDNet Australia and TechRepublic don’t have the budget to send me. So who wants to pay for it?

Last year I wrote six articles and produced four daily podcasts. I don’t think it’s too immodest of me to say that they were well-received, and that I should cover this year’s event as well.

So, who’s going to cough up the dosh? I’ll need to have the air fares and accommodation covered, along with various minor expenses, and of course I’ll need to be paid as well. Much as I support and respect the free and open source software (FOSS) community, this media stuff is what I do to pay my bills.

I reckon there’s three ways we can do this.

  1. Another media company pays me to cover the event as a freelancer in the traditional way.
  2. I cover the event independently. I could perhaps create the Corrupted Nerds masthead for this (I wrote about that on Friday), though that seems better as the title for a security-related thing. I’d need to arrange advertisers and sponsors in the usual way, and time is short.
  3. I cover the event independently, but crowdsource the funding through Pozible or someone. This is supposed to be the future, so perhaps we could try it?

How much are we looking at? About $5000.

A flight from Sydney to Canberra on Sunday and back a few days after the conference ends — because I need to finish making media objects first, then fly, and if I’m in Canberra I’d do some other things while I was there (about $240). Transport to and from the airports (about $150) and to and from the conference venues ($250). Accommodation for the duration of the conference, ‘cos I’d cover the rest out of my own budget (between $1100 and $1400). Call it $2000.

As for what I’m paid, well, that’s flexible. Last year the podcasts and articles came to just under $3000 including GST. While that may sound relative high for one week of work, bear in mind that I was up at 5am and working until after midnight most days, and working into the weekend. I think I pulled an all-nighter in there somewhere. So you’re pretty much rooted for days afterwards. And freelancers provide their own equipment, and in theory things like paying for future holidays (what?), insurance (come again?) and so on.

Obviously we’d have to decide the exact format of the media objects — whether they’re written stories or live blogs or podcasts or photographs or whatever, or of course a mix thereof. The conference organisers will presumably post the raw recordings of the presentations, but the journalistic approach is to seek out the newsworthy stuff, to analyse and comment upon whats being presented and how it’s being received.

So all up, it’s about $5000. My task for Monday morning is to decide which method to focus on. Which do you think might be best?

Talking Instagram on ABC 666 Canberra

ABC logoBy the time I got to doing my third radio spot about the Instagram saga, the issues were clear in my mind and I had a few well-rehearsed sound bites. So my final spot on ABC 666 Canberra was smooth.

I don’t think I need to provide any more background. My conversation with Louise Maher stands for itself, I think. We didn’t speak for as long as we’d originally intended, but they also had to update their listeners on the progress of some bushfires and that does have priority.

Play

This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of what went to air, though the ABC has not posted it online as far as I know.

At some point in the next few days I’ll post further thoughts about this Instagram incident. Stay tuned.