Monday, September 17, 2007

Distinguished speechwriter offers service

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:

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?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Volunteer contributes to museum vision

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image courtesy

SENIORS have an image of grappling with technology – as in Telstra’s recent launch this week of its ‘grey’ education campaign – but Cleveland’s Norm Dean, 75, is in it up to his eyeballs, converting videos from the Redland Museum’s archives to DVDs.
Norm’s passion for the present meets respect for the past as he performs each conversion on his computer to make the historic vision more accessible for public enjoyment.
The former Revesby, Sydney, refrigeration expert who moved with wife Barbara in 1982 to Alexandra Hills estimates he is about halfway through the voluntary project, which includes sound and vision editing, addition of titles and disk labelling.
He has already created at least half a dozen DVDs. Some are from old film that was copied to video and includes footage of the 1974-94 Strawberry Festivals.

NORM enjoyed working on Hometown Efforts, which details Redlands’ defence activities during World War Two and presentations about steam power and a Redland trip to the Ipswich rail museum.
One of his pleasures in joining the museum team has been meeting his namesake, another Norm Dean, who was museum co-founder – "Norm was declared a national treasure and I had long wanted to meet him."
The technical Norm’s use of video and computer management of vision and sound dates from the early 1980s, after he left his refrigeration trade for a job near home, looking after Vienna Woods State Primary School grounds.
"About six months after the school opened they bought a video camera and I recorded all the school’s special occasions like graduations and sports days for 13 years I worked there," he says.
"I and put it all in the library."
Norm had a longstanding interest in still photography and had recorded Windsor speedway events for two years.

HIS first computer was a Commodore in the 1980s and he has upgraded about five times, most recently about 18 months ago when he commissioned an Alexandra Hills computer firm to put a box together.
"I wouldn’t have a clue about Excel or anything like that," he says. "I’m comfortable with sound and video."
Norm and Barbara recently featured in a Classified ad that their daughter, Sue Stewart, placed for their 50th wedding anniversary.
The couple started a trend back in the 1980s. Sue, her elder sister Jennifer and their brother, Peter, followed their parents to the bayside. Sydney neighbours moved here too.
Norm says Jennifer now lives at Wynnum and Peter, who worked with Redland Shire Council on Macleay Island, recently joined Maryborough City Council.
Norm’s eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren undoubtedly have star roles in a lot of his own DVD collection.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on