Derryn Hinch, by Greg Tingle: 19th January 2003
Why, when and how did you break
into the journalism and the media business?
lived next door to the news editor of the Taranaki
Herald in New Zealand. Used to cut his lawns and steal
his home brew. Organised an interview with the editor
and got the job. I was fifteen and good at English
if not much else.
mentors, if any, did you have?
mentors or heroes. Although a female Chief Sub at
the Taranaki Herald, a wonderful dwarf named June
Litmann, used to pay attention to my copy. She said.
Later it was because I would query her after a story
appeared with my copy changed. She figured I was serious
about this business.
is the wisest piece of advice you have ever been given?
guess not to lie. We've all been guilty of white lies
but not to lie in print or on air. Being honest you
need a less complicated mind. And less of a memory.
the span of your career you have needed to be very
"thick skinned", and have held your ground
on a number of stories. Is your strong determination
something you were born with, or did you acquire it,
as a result of the media business?
born with it. There were a few things I did in tabloid
journalism as a teenager when the story was the only
thing that I am not proud of. I think I developed
a personal moral code and a determination I have not
wavered from when I was in my twenties and living
in New York and reading some great columnists and
crusaders in the New York Times and the Washington
Post. And I was able to use some of those beliefs
when I revamped and cleaned up the Sydney Sun. And
got rid of the Page Three " birds".
from the Australian public?
this question. Think it was about lying. You don't.
Truth should be a total defense to defamation in this
country. Especially with politicians.
is the biggest misconception about Derryn Hinch?
that I am an ogre. I'm trigger-happy. I am a headline-seeking
sensationalist. Whatever. I love this craft. I have
been successful here and abroad in newspaper radio,
TV and as author of seven books.
week I celebrate forty years since I arrived in Sydney
from New Zealand by boat! Check Sunday's column in
the Sunday Herald Sun. In all that time through all
mediums I have always kept hitting the typewriter.
And always will.
delivery platform of media do you prefer? - TV, radio
I am doing at the time. Radio is so personal. TV is
awesomely powerful. Newspaper writing and book writing
are such a wonderful crafts. They require awesome
discipline but I love the printed word having written
two books about Scrabble. Words have been and will
always be my life.
many books have you published, and what one would
you recommend for me, and those starting out in their
careers in the media business?
Seven books I think. What would I recommend? Not mine.
Try The Surgeon of Crowthorpe by Simon Winchester.
The First Casualty by Phillip Knightley. Gallipoli
by Les Carlyon. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. The Making
of a President by Theodore White. All the President's
Men by Woodward and Bernstein. And a couple of Vietnam
would you describe freedom of the press, or lack thereof,
We are shackled. As I have said: truth should be a
total defence in defamation actions. This business
of " public benefit" or " public interest"
is bullshit. And if a person is defamed then the courts
should be more accurate in determining real financial
damage. We lost defamation in Perth over a dentist
with Hepatitis C. The dentist who sued us was not
the man in question. He claimed that in overlay on
the TV story his hands and his surgery could be identified.
He got $100,000 even though his booking diaries showed
he had not lost any business or reputation.
the course of your career, who did you both most and
least enjoy working with?
Paul; Barber and Darren James from 3AW who came with
me to London, Beijing, Los Angeles, Bombay, Hong Kong
the Sudan, Ethiopia. Were with me when we saw 25,000
people about to die in an African drought and were
with me for the first ever broadcast to the West from
Beijing for which I won the New York International
Radio Festival Grand award.
buffoons - boys with toys-- who are trying to run
Melbourne radio's 3AK as a plausible, albeit pathetic,
alternative to 3AW. Sad because they could have achieved
What advantages and benefits
has convergent media, such as your website delivered
I think I have a professional and frequently updated
and vibrant website. I enjoy having editorials spinning
out there into the ether. And it adds another media
arrow to the quiver. You can't escape me.
can the public currently see and hear you?
the Internet at www.hinch.net.
Writing editorials. Writing a film script. Probably
not on radio this year except for guest spots.
are some of your personal and profession goals you
aim to achieve?
had goals in the past. No point in setting them for
the future. Probably though to get another novel published
and finish a film script. And get it to screen.
What words of advice do you
have for those starting out in the media business?
didn't know what a high school dropout was until I
went to America and discovered that I was one.
Since this interview was conducted Derryn has signed
on with Melbourne's 3AW to present the Drive Programme)
our book review of Derryn Hinch: That's Life