Paul Austin has spent the past 35 years working in daily newspapers. Now the former opinion editor of The Age has filed his last copy and is off to chase the next story in his life.
After an extensive career writing across federal and state politics, working with industry legends at Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia and winning a Melbourne Press Club Quill, Mr Austin decided to take a voluntary redundancy.
He left The Age last month.
“Working at The Age has been a dream come true for me, and a source of great fun, pride and inspiration,” Mr Austin said in a farewell speech.
Mr Austin said it was with a heavy heart that he left the newspaper but said it was the right time for him to move on.
“The industry that I’ve worked in and loved is reducing in size. I hope it prospers, I think it’s necessary and it’s a public good – journalism and good journalism outlets like The Age,” Mr Austin said.
“It’s necessary and it’s a public good – journalism and good journalism outlets like The Age”
Mr Austin started his career in 1981 at Melbourne’s The Herald, going straight from high school into a cadetship.
He worked as a property reporter, Sydney correspondent and a Victorian political reporter before being approached to join The Australian.
He would spend the next decade at the national broadsheet. He covered the 1987 and 1990 federal elections, worked in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and ascended into leadership positions including national news editor, national chief-of-staff and deputy editor.
As deputy editor, Mr Austin worked under Paul Kelly – a man he describes as one of the two most impressive editors with whom he has worked.
The other was Bruce Guthrie, editor of The Age, with whom Mr Austin worked when he moved to the Fairfax paper to become deputy editor in 1995.
“Both Kelly and Guthrie had vastly different personalities, they are vastly different editors, but each in their own way is absolutely admirable and inspiring and each wonderful mentors for people like me,” Mr Austin said.
Mr Austin says covering some of the biggest news stories of a generation, like the Port Arthur Massacre, has been the highlight of his career.
He was in the editor’s chair at The Age on the Sunday when news of the massacre broke.
The Age published a normal edition, plus a mid-morning special edition on the Monday and later an eight-page narrative recounting the tragedy entitled “In Cold Blood”.
“In Cold Blood” would go on to win a Walkley Award in 1996 for Best Application of the Print Medium to Journalism.
Later, as opinion editor of The Age, Mr Austin poured through oceans of copy in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as part of the paper’s mission to earmark its coverage with expert opinion and analysis.
After leaving The Age, Mr Austin has turned his hand to private consultancy in media and communications, specialising in speech writing, editing and strategic and political advice.
He is also open to other opportunities in the future and is keen to keep utilising the expertise and passion he has developed throughout his career.
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