Mar 31, 2022 • 36M

Gideon Haigh on the longest form of journalism

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Appears in this episode

Hal Crawford
News about news

Happy Friday all,

Gideon Haigh is in the Crawford Media spotlight today.

Gideon Haigh at home/work (he’s written a book about that too)

If you’re any kind of Australian cricket fan at all, you will be familiar with Haigh’s writing. He’s been covering the game for more than three decades, but that’s far from his only area of activity. Haigh has become a specialist in the longest form of journalism available: books.

He’s very good at it, and he seems to be able to turn his hand to any subject.

The trick is to do things that you're really interested in, things that you're really curious about. And the things that you don't know anything about.

Take one of Haigh’s most recent books, The Brilliant Boy. I knew nothing about 1930s High Court judge Doc Evatt before I began reading and had no particular interest in finding out more. I am halfway through - yes, I am a slow reader - and I am totally into this strange, small world of judges, politicians, artists and activists. These characters quote poetry, keep houses in the Blue Mountains, believe in stuff and run the country.

Everything is about journalism. I use journalistic methods. I pick and choose stories where I can be tested and really stimulated and learn stuff and learn how to do things better. It’s a pretty simple ambition, really: to be better at my job a year hence than I am now.

Haigh is currently working on a piece about the birth of marine archeology in 1950s Western Australia following the invention of scuba. Dutch shipwrecks were discovered up and down the coast. He still doesn’t know where it’s heading exactly, or if it might become a whole book, but I’m looking forward to reading it. Of course. I’m from Perth.

Have a listen to the podcast. Haigh has carved out a space that allows him to do great work at great length.

Enjoy the weekend,