Some of you might have heard that I’m moving. Well, my newspaper column is moving. I’ll tell you a bit of background further down in this post but first, here is the press release that News released today:
Writer, editor and publisher Mia Freedman will join News Limited Sunday newspapers as a columnist from Sunday January 29.
News Limited group editorial director Campbell Reid announced the popular columnist would write a weekly column for the company’s five main Sunday papers – The Sunday Telegraph in NSW, the Sunday Herald Sun in Victoria, The Sunday Mail in Queensland, the Sunday Mail in South Australia and The Sunday Times in Western Australia.
“This is a major coup for News Limited and builds on our already strong stable of high-profile columnists and journalists across the country,” Mr Reid said.
“Mia Freedman is more than a columnist – she is a brand in her own right, enjoying a significant profile particularly among women.
“We’re confident her columns will engage, entertain and inform our loyal readers across Australia.”
Freedman’s column, until now published in Sunday Life magazine, inserted in TheSun-Herald and The Sunday Age, will now be read by 5.24 million Australians each week.Advertisement
Freedman is buoyed by the magnitude of her new audience, which has almost tripled with her signing at News Limited.
“I am beyond excited to be joining News Limited and to be writing for the best-selling Sunday newspapers around Australia,” she said.
“Having a Sunday column is such a privilege and a luxury – people are in a very particular, more relaxed headspace on Sundays and I relish the opportunity to be part of that. It’s an awesome audience to write for.
“While I’ll admit to more than a little stage fright, I cannot wait to get started.”
Neil Breen, editor of The Sunday Telegraph, said: “Mia is one of Australia’s great columnists and I am absolutely delighted she will be writing for us every week.”
Sunday Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston said the signing of Freedman would add even greater depth among his weekly contributors who also include broadcaster and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, cookbook author Jane Kennedy, and Brownlow medallist Shane Crawford.
“It’s great to have Mia as part of the Sunday Herald Sun team and I know our readers will love her straight-shooting, ahead-of-the-curve columns,” he said.
Freedman is a journalist, author, columnist and publisher of Australia’s leading independent women’s website mamamia.com.au which she founded in 2007 and runs with her husband.
Before launching the website, Freedman worked in the magazine industry for 15 years where she campaigned for a more diverse and realistic portrayal of women in the media; she went on to chair the National Body Image Advisory Group in 2009.
She has three kids and a dog.
About 12 years ago I was first approached to write a newspaper column. The offer came from the then editor of the Sun-Herald in Sydney, a fantastic journalist and editor called Phil McLean.
It was completely out of the blue and I baulked at first. I was editing Cosmo, going through a pretty traumatic time in my personal life (I’d just lost a baby late in my 2nd pregnancy) and I was rather ginger.
While I really enjoyed writing my editor’s letter in the magazine each month, I didn’t know if I was capable of writing for an ACTUAL newspaper. My background in journalism had always been magazines.
And I’d only ever written for women. Young women.
But I gave it a whirl and in time I discovered that I adored it. Over the next few years as I progressed through the ranks of the media (magazines and then briefly TV), my day job was taking me further into management and further away from writing, journalism and being creative.
Every week, my newspaper column gave me a hands-on outlet to write and communicate directly with an audience. It kept me sane.
Well, sane and crazy at the same time. For a long time I had a pretty tortured relationship with it, I won’t lie. A bit love-hate. As I once heard a writer say: “I hate writing but I love having WRITTEN”. That was me.
Also, I was terrified that I’d run out of ideas. Terrified that I’d have writer’s block. Terrified that I’d write something that might offend someone and cause a dreaded “backlash” (of course at the start, it was before social media when a ‘backlash’ meant a few stroppy letters to your editor, not a Twitter/Facebook massacre – a backlash then was maybe a letter or two to the editor! Ha! Good times!).
But in time, as my enjoyment of my column overtook any enjoyment I used to get from my day job in editorial management, I relaxed into it.
For the past few years I have – sneakily and without realising it – begun to enjoy the process of writing, not just the hitting ‘send’ at the end. I still have a big problem with STARTING to write. In fact, yesterday when Neil Breen, Editor of the Sunday Telegraph asked me what I had in mind for my first column, I blinked and said:
Even though it’s due in less than a week. BUT LET US NOT DWELL ON THAT.
The truth is that once I force myself to sit down with my laptop, I feel at home.
I realised today if it wasn’t for my column keeping me in touch with how much I loved writing – and the sheer volume of columns I’ve had to write keeping my writing muscle in shape – I don’t think I would have launched Mamamia. And I most certainly wouldn’t have written any books.
For all these years writing my column, I have been happily published by Fairfax – in various incarnations in the Sydney and Melbourne Sunday papers, and most recently as a columnist for Sunday Life magazine since it’s relaunch a couple of years ago.
I’ve worked with some really supportive and professional people and I’ve not a bad word to say about my time there.
But a couple of years ago, I met Neil Breen at a BBQ and the next day, he called me about coming to News Ltd to write for them. Back then, I wasn’t in the position to move – having just signed a new contract – but we stayed in touch and towards the end of last year I made the decision to jump.
Why? Because as a national Sunday columnist for News Ltd I will be able to reach 5 million Australians every Sunday. There are few arguments as persuasive as that. So many of my friends, colleagues and journalists I admire work there. Maybe that’s why it feels like such an unexpectedly familiar place to me.
I couldn’t be more pumped about the new challenge of writing for a national newspaper audience every week. I’m also very slightly terrified. Except not very slightly.
Change is scary. So are expectations! But it’s good scary. Isn’t it? ISN’T IT? Hold me.
My column will still be published here on Mamamia on Monday mornings. But for your Sunday print fix, here’s where you can find me:
The Sunday Telegraph in NSW, the Sunday Herald Sun in Victoria, The Sunday Mail in Queensland, the Sunday Mail in South Australia and The Sunday Times in Western Australia.