New media club pressed for high profile

THE WA Press Club, which attracted high-profile speakers to its lunch-time events during the 1970s and 1980s, will wind up  on April 19.

The club has struggled to gain topical speakers for the past few years, however, a new group believes it can get the right speakers and produce a sought-after regular event.

Called the WA Media Club, the new organisation is a joint venture between the WA Journalists' Association and Atticus Communications.

It will be launched at the end of the month and hopes to replicate the early success of the WA Press Club and press clubs interstate.

In its heyday the WA Press Club attracted large numbers of journalists who paid to listen to people such as former prime minister Bob Hawke, however, for the past five years the club had been relatively inactive.

The WA Press Club's convenor Robert Hunt said a more demanding newsroom coupled with a loss of organisers had meant the WA Press Club had not been able to function as it once did.

“Until five years ago it was a big thing because we had people running it who were out in the news field and finding out who was coming to WA,” Mr Hunt said

 “They also had good contacts.”

“The bloke who did this well was Bob Duffield.

“He died five years ago and it has really faded away since then.”

Mr Hunt said an opportunity arose to host an event on April 19, which would feature Future Directions International managing director Lee Cordner as guest speaker.

He took up the offer but said it would be the club’s final event.

“After that the WA Media Club will be the new club,” Mr Hunt said.

The WA Media Club's inaugural event will take place on April 29.

 Its guest speaker is the 7.30 Report's editor and presenter Kerry O'Brien.

WAJA president David Cohen said the WA Media Club would boost the profile of media professionals in the State.

“The members of the association have always lamented the fact that there hasn't been a press club here like there is in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“I see them (clubs) as increasing the reputation of journalists and the media in the community and I think that it should happen here,” he said

Mr Cohen, aware of the demands of modern-day newsrooms said he hoped to attract the public, politicians, and business people to the events. He also said the WA Media Club was not just open to print journalists.





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