Staff Highlights – Madeleine Laing

This year we have more than 80 cracking events over the 4 day festival. We asked our staff to tell us the events that they are most looking forward to attending. Our brilliant Press Room coordinator picks her top five.

Up For Debate: Are Young People Killing the News?
With all the hysteria around millennials and how we’re destroying ‘real news’ and ‘real writing’ with our short attention-spans, terrible work-ethic and complete self-absorption, this panel will look to bring some nuance to the debate. Hey, maybe earnest 20 000 word essays by white male journalists aren’t the only legitimate form of writing?

Or maybe they’ll all agree that we’re doomed to a fiery list-based hell of eternal celebrity dog news and then we can all hit the pub.

If You Can’t Take The Heat
As someone who’s written some questionable heat-of-the-moment memoir in the past (the worst of it, thankfully, unpublished) I’m looking forward to seeing how personal is too personal for these writers. Or, if there’s even such thing, when sharing embarrassing or painful experiences has become something brave and almost noble. Does writing these stories help the reader deal with similar experiences, or is most of the catharsis really for the writer?

The Ethics of Gonzo Journalism 
I’m looking forward to having my (admittedly pretty negative) views on Gonzo Journalism interrogated and challenged in what should be a fiery panel. This an experienced group, so we can hope for lots of over-sharing and crazy/scary stories about when shit goes down on the trail of a story – which is all anyone wants to hear, really.

What Makes a Great Podcast? 
I’m super into podcasts – but most of the ones I listen to are American, so I’ve realised I actually know almost nothing about the culture and network of Australian podcasts. This panel is packed with great young Aussie podcasters to show me what I’m missing, and shed a bit of light on what is a phenomenally growing but still widely dismissed or misunderstood art form.

Editing Ignorance
We’ve all had that ‘how the hell did THAT get through???’ moment when reading something offensive, or just plain dumb, on a usually reputable blog/website/journal. This event might just tell us how and why that happens, as well as looking at the way an editor shapes creative work, and where they draw the line between strong opinions and outright hate (I also hope they touch on why so many of the best editors are women, cause this panel is full of top chicks!).