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Why Australian GQ sucks – part 2: Writers May 16, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing, work/life.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Typewriter keysStemming from the Editor are the people who fill the pages with wit and wisdom. British GQ boasts Simon Kelner, Matthew d’Ancona, Will Self, AA Gill, Tony Parsons, Jeremy Clarkson, Naomi Campbell, Martin Deeson, Alex Petrides, Rod Liddle, Alex Blimes and Piers Morgan – note: that is not an exhaustive list! It is however a who’s who of the British writing fraternity. Dylan Jones (the Editor of British GQ) could fall asleep for 4 weeks straight in a champagne-and-coke induced coma and be fairly confident, upon waking, that he still had a highly readable offering for the newsstands in a few days time.

Contrast that with the Australian offering, who provide almost nothing in the way of regular columns beyond an editorial, leaving the magazine to deliver informative if dry pieces that fail to hold attention (or at least do not hold mine). We have such a wealth of quality writers and thinkers in this country, and the irony is we don’t need to mine corners further than the ones Mr. Jones went to.

The Australian media landscape is so bloody territorial I get strange looks when I purchase The Australian on a Saturday from my Melbournian newsagent, I can’t imagine how many people there are residing here who’ve never heard of Philip Adams. But it goes both ways, I had no idea who Danny Katz was before I ventured south, and he’s great! What about Adam Spencer? Steve Biddulph? Andrew Denton? A music writer who is not Iain Sheddan, Molly Meldrum, Richard Wilkins or a staff member of Channel V or Triple J (personally I’m thinking Zolton Zavos who heads up Lost At E Minor)?

It only takes a few minutes of thinking to expand that list into dozens of names who I would gladly pay $10 a month to read all in one place, and in a market like print where content is the only thing you have going for you, you have to stand out. If you don’t, if you’re an also-ran, why bother in the first place? Quit that game and go do what you’re actually good at, stop wasting yours and everyone else’s time.

Tomorrow: art direction.

Image courtesy of bitzi, with thanks to Flickr Storm.

Update: I wanted to link all five posts together for easy reference, so here they are.

  1. The Editor
  2. The Writers (you are here)
  3. The Art Direction
  4. Audience & Competitors
  5. Online


1. Why Australian GQ sucks (and what it can do to fix itself - Part 1) « Wide Open Spaces - May 16, 2008

[…] the next installment: the writers. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Old dogs and new tricksAsk Wendy: Your Publishing […]

2. Zolton - May 17, 2008

Hi David, interesting posts. I agree with your analysis, although I’m a little removed now from the Australian music journalism scene having been in New York now for a while. Great to see read such forthright views, and thanks also for the mention.



3. David Gillespie - May 17, 2008

Hey Zolton, thanks for swinging by, always happy to point people in the right direction, and Lost at E Minor is certainly that.

4. Why Australian GQ sucks - part 3: Art direction « Wide Open Spaces - May 20, 2008

[…] The Writers […]

5. Robert Light - December 11, 2008

Hey David,

This is totally true about Australian GQ. Good observation. I also like the sex columnist Anka Radakovich who writes for British GQ. (She is American.) Her stuff is witty and funny.

Robert Light

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