Advance, the organisation that brings ex-pat Australians together for everything from keynote speakers to commemorating Anzac Day, held the inaugural event last night for its Media, Communications & Technology forum, of which I’m a member.
Participating in the talk-fest were long-time expat journalists Phillip McCarthy (SMH), Belinda Luscombe (Time magazine), a woman who writes for a magazine with the title Real Simple (really), and the recently arrived Michael Maher from ABC-TV. Moderated by an Australian former journalist who now works for the Ford Foundation, the discussion meandered due to her self-acknowledged lack of preparation. Nobody was quite sure the purpose of the discussion, which wandered from celebrity worship to the Virginia Tech massacre and back again. There seemed to be an assumption that the media culture here in the US is wildly different from that in Australia, but I for one don’t believe that. As ever, the sheer size and scale of the industry and the population here means that there is a type and quality of information for everyone, from the least informed to the wildly curious among us.
After the panel we broke for Rosemount Chardy or Shiraz, and a bit of networking. I introduced myself to Maher as Lily Brett’s long-time editor. His documentary on expatriates, which aired last year on the ABC, featured Lily and her family, among others. The “literary scene” is one of the areas he’s covering as part of his new assignment in NYC, and we’re meeting next week to have a chat about it. I’ll have to think of something to tell him.