In a pre-release review of this fascinating work Benjamin Law states “deftly wilds a Writers scalpel, both on herself and her subject’ which sums up what is the intent of the book created by Sonya Voumard, when she set out to write what could also be considered as a cathartic experience, but along the way also gives a massive insight into what makes a good, if not brilliant reporter.
In today’s world of instant, continuous, information often considered as News, this insightful look at what was once the world of rolling presses, the addictive smell of printers ink, the massive highs of chasing a good tip, the immense lows of having your story cut, are all laid out as is the rough and rocky road to the top of a profession that was, and still is, a male dominated industry.
As a child of a migrant family whose Grandmother and Mother were strong women, both beautiful and both determined to carve out a good life in this new country called Australia, Voumard was born to an Estonian Mother and an Australian father who just happened to be a journalist.
She grew up with the tools of the trade as a component of her everyday life, surrounded by men and the rare women of the press, her family life revolving around the latest stories of the day. As she grew older her fascination with the stories of the day slowly grew into a desire to follow in her beloved father’s footsteps.
His sudden death when she was 13 year old unbalanced her life, but with the help of her godfather she eventually found her way into a cadetship with the Melbourne Herald, where she learned her trade well, moving on to the Age. She was sent to Brisbane as their Queensland correspondent in the heady but conflicting times of Joe Bjelke-Petersen: Canberra was next during the Hawke-Keating political storm, followed by Sydney, where she took up the position of heading up The Age’s Sydney bureau and slowly falling out of love with journalism.
Moving into the Corporate sector saw not only a change of lifestyle but income, a change of countries which bought with it a different maturity, one that eventually saw her beginning to look backwards to better understand of her family and her life journey.
Sharp, insightful, and absolutely entertaining, Sonya Voumard holds nothing back, placing the Journalism industry under the microscope, looking back to a time when newspapers were the lifeblood of society, but also to a lifestyle growing up in a different family construct, during a time when anything was considered as possible. Her road well-travelled, potholes and all, upon reflection offers a rare insight into people, life and learning to adapt to the many unexpected events that go to make up ‘Family’.