This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of the Alice St facade of Queensland Parliament House courtesy of wikipedia. Robert Hogan: firstname.lastname@example.org
A SECURITY alarm went off during a recent scan of the Classifieds. An apparent trespasser lurked behind a notice in Positions Wanted.
The ad offered a service to "put words in your mouth".
Media savvy readers immediately will realise this was a red alert. Another journo was on my patch.
Not only that. This intruder had the cheek to put up "in lights" something we talk about in hushed tones over the murmur of a critical public that unfortunately expects sycophantic recording on one hand and tough independence on the other.
After a lifetime spent trying to get people to trust me not to put words in their mouth, I wasn't happy about a wordsmith promoting an image of a journalist doing just that.
But when I finally worked up the courage to dial the number and "have a go" at this brazen wordsmith, who dared to offer a speechwriting service, I heard the name, Robert Hogan, and I remembered how some people need to have words put in their mouths.
ROBERT Hogan, now semi-retired at Victoria Point, was one of the key spin doctors for three Premiers and eight cabinet ministers.
If anyone can put words in people's mouths, it's Robert. Sorry, I ever thought there was an issue in there somewhere. I now realise I certainly "don't need to worry about that".
We can only imagine the tough task that Robert faced when he joined the ranks of government media officers, speechwriters and ministerial advisers after a distinguished career in news reporting and production, including eight years with ABC Queensland radio and television.
He was right behind the grins and snarls on the face of government for a long time and he is unapologetic about putting words in political mouths.
NOW his skills are available to anyone who faces a worrying speech, media release or help with promotional material or annual reports.
But where I sit, I'm checking the for-sale ads for something to write about, trying to find a story lead from the public notices and scanning the job ads.
Actually, that's where this column started.
You may think it's a long way from the important daily news grind where history's made. But it's not that far.
After all, I met Robert Hogan in this marvellous community of classified advertising, didn't I?