I made a quick trip to Canberra to meet Australia’s new Deputy Chief of Army Major General Tony Rawlins and some of his staff yesterday.
I felt it was a very productive meeting – mostly discussing how we can help each other to get more Army stories out into the word.
I was delighted with the level of recognition and respect CONTACT received – Major General Rawlins said he was a fan, reading the magazine regularly and keeping across our news items on the Internet too.
He also said that he knew his soldiers got most of their news and views on line, especially on Facebook, but also on platforms such as CONTACT – and he knew very few of them ever picked up a Sydney Morning Herald or other mainstream newspaper.
So, his idea in reaching out to CONTACT to nurture better relations for the future, was based on his desire to communicate more through the media he knew his soldiers were reading.
The meeting was full of promise and potential – so, I hope and I think we can anticipate much more and much better Army content in CONTACT magazine and on CONTACT web site in the near future.
UPDATE (1 February 2020): 12 months after the above meetings, I’m still waiting for Army to help me tell their stories. I have thus far received zero content from Army HQ.
There was one particular story they promised me for the March 2019 issue of CONTACT magazine, which was delayed because of NQ floods, but still didn’t materialise for the June or September magazines either.
It’s true, I didn’t follow up for June – because of heart surgery – but the June magazine got published on time as always, with Army’s input.
It’s also true I didn’t chase that story for the September issue – because I don’t intend wasting my time chasing the proactive, positive stories they came to me asking me to publish for them, if they can’t be bothered either. That’s not how ‘proactive’ works.
In December 2019, I asked for Army HQ’s input to a Canadian Army story already written. I was told, “Army media are experiencing a high work load at the moment…”
Well, let me tell them a thing or two about workloads ––– CONTACT is run by just one guy, producing a yearbook, a quarterly magazine, fortnightly newsletter, daily web site (7/365), plus sundry publications, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube – AND an email inbox that never lets up.
Now that’s busy. But, as I wrote back to Army HQ (via a third-party mediator – because dem’s da rulz), it’s no skin off my nose if they don’t actually want to play. But, it was their idea to be ‘proactive’ in the first place.
FOOTNOTE: After our discussions, I asked the General if he would mind if I took a quick video grab for this vlog, and he was very happy to do a cheesy selfie with me. Unfortunately, I pressed the wrong button on the GoPro and messed up the shot – instead recording 20 minutes-worth of grey carpet, upside down, in slow motion, as I walked away 🙁