What Matthew da Silva does

 

Talking to people is one of the enduring privileges of journalism. The people I talk to are special in different ways, like this avocado grower who operates a farm on the north coast of New South Wales, an eastern state of Australia. You learn so much from people, you take the knowledge away to work it up, then share it with many others. Writing is fun, it doesn't matter if it's a short news stories or a longer featurer.

To achieve excellence in journalism I try to secure as much space in the target publication as is necessary to enable the story to find its natural length, and I want those I talk with to be comfortable with the exposure they get when I work with them. Sometimes people ask me not to include part of an interview in a story. Sometimes an interview subject will contact me after publication to say thanks for the exposure a story has given them. Depending on the story I might ask an interview subject for help and so get them to check material before I submit the story, because truthfulness is important.

Balance sometimes gets a bad rap but for me fairness will always remain a goal to aspire to. Going in hard just for the sake of a juicy headline is not consonant with being an ethical journalist. Such a label might sound oxymoronic to some but in my view operating in an ethical fashion is essential. It's no accident that journalism arose at the same time as did representative government and evidence-based science, and I think it is an essential component in any functioning democracy.

It's about innovation

Discovering things about people and their passions is a source of pleasure. The people I work with love what they do and are experts in their fields, like this marine engineer who lives in North Queensland and invented a crop processing machine that helps farmers find more profitable ways to do their jobs. Agriculture is an innovative business an it provides me with material for many of the stories that I write.

On the social side there is much happening in Australia that is innovative and I like to cover these stories too. A progressive outlook can furnish strong material for a story, whether it be an aspiration for better government or a desire to raise awareness about the dangers of overfishing in our seas. People who aim to improve the world inspire me to look for ways to tell their stories, and I work with intelligent editors who share some of the same ideals.

Many organisations make innovation a feature that sets them apart from the crowd. In business it might take the form of a new kind of financial instrument or a new type of contract that lets partners attain multiple goals in addition to profitability. In technology, innovation drives the business forward and may also lead to new ways of operating. Often science will combine new ways of operating with an innovative social message, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world. Politicians, too, can steer society or the economy in a direction that results in advances that change lives.

I do words

And it's always to do with words. This linocut with the words to Alfred Tennyson's poem 'The Kraken' ("Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea ...") is thirty years old, but by the time this print was struck in my Glebe apartment it is merely honest to say that words had been a passion for years.

The passion continued after starting work in corporate communications, which is a practice I undertake from time to time when such work comes my way, and during my time as a technical writer. Journalism remains my profession but these are also things that I can do. If you would like to work with me then please get in touch. I am always ready to listen.