What is your role at The Australian and what does an average day look like?
My role is illustrator and cartoonist. My day starts at around 2pm/3pm, looking at the article that I will illustrate for the day, depending on whether the editor has received the copy by this time.
More often than not the article lands on my desk at around 5pm and my deadline is at 7:30pm! While I wait I will do other jobs for different parts of the paper where the deadline isn’t so tight (i.e. magazines and pre-print sections).
My role is to depict the opinions of others on the Op-ed page. After the rough is produced and approved, I will then pencil the drawing to a high quality and scan it into the system, send a copy to the editor for a final check and start to colour it to have it finished by 7:30pm when the sub editors are breathing down my neck to get it put on the page.
I then send the drawing to be processed to make it ready for print. I also send the finished product via email to my editor to get a final OK.
How does your role at The Australian help deliver the news?
My role at The Australian is to add visual interpretations of the news or commentary of the day, and in turn this contributes to the ideas flying around, maybe with a little humour and sometimes with pathos.
What is the structure of the team you work in and how do you work together?
The editor gives me the words produced by the writer, and the layout sub gives me the size of the illustration on the page. The imaging department separates the illustration to get it ready for the layout sub to place onto the page.
What is your proudest achievement during your time at The Australian with relation to making the news?
Every day and every job has its own rewards. I feel great satisfaction when the news is influenced by an illustration that appears in the paper, or if an AFL/NRL Poster is stuck up in the window of the local newsagency with my drawing on it.
How would you define ‘quality journalism’?
Attention to detail, and to be across a wide range of issues so that it all feeds into my illustrations.
Why do you think quality journalism is important to Australians?
I have worked for this newspaper for 22 years and it is always received with great respect for its journalism, so we need to uphold that tradition so that the news continues to be delivered with authority and reliability.
How do you see the industry progressing and what are your hopes for the future?
The future for the industry is based on the multi-platform use of the medium.
The illustrations I provide for the Op-ed is another form of commentary. I think that my talents will be used to illustrate opinions that come from diverse sources. I have set up a page called www.opinionsketch.wordpress.com where I am asking for opinions from the readers, with the intention that I would illustrate an idea that came out of that discussion. This adds a whole new dimension to my profession that hasn’t been explored yet. This form of interaction with the consumer is what is required by our industry, it enables the product to have a conversation with its paying audience. This helps to create deeper relationships and build the online audience, which is crucial to our business in what is a crowded news market.