The day job

I very rarely mention the day job here because the name ‘Shane Cummings’ is increasingly limited to my day job and that name doesn’t belong here. In every other aspect of my life, I am Shane Jiraiya Cummings. If you have cause to address me by my full name, I’d much rather it be the latter. In fact, in fields of endeavour outside my day job, I find it rather disrespectful if you don’t. How you use this information is entirely up to you.

As SJC, I may seem rather blinded to political and world affairs. These, too, do not belong on the news blog of a Western Australian dark fiction writer (except as fodder for storylines). Given the seeming lack of focus beyond publishing, it may suprise you, dear reader, that I am the managing editor of WA’s doctors’ magazine – Medical Forum – a rather long-running and (I’d like to think) respected magazine of medico-political and social matters. (Yes, I am a professional editor, some might even say journalist, but I shy away from ackowledgement of this).

Sometimes, my life as Medical Forum’s editor spills me into the public eye. The most recent example: I ran a survey on resigned health chief Dr Neale Fong (Australia’s highest paid public servant who quit after being tainted with Brian Burke’s poisonous quills) which went on to be featured in stories in The Australian and The Sunday Times on the weekend. An elaboration of the Sunday Times story received top billing on the Perth Now (news.com.au) website today. The story, in full, is here.

In that story, I went on the record and broke the unspoken journalist’s code. I picked a side. For the record, I think Fong was left to hang out to dry, and for all the demonising he’s received through the media, he has always struck me as a decent bloke and our interactions have been nothing but professional. If you had read the transcripts of the allegedly damning phone calls and the emails from/to Burke – as I have – you’d see it looked to be a beat up.

(Incidentally, I was also the guy who broke that story last year about WA’s spiralling Caesarean section rates. The one that caught the national media’s attention last April and sparked changes in the WA health system. It was a nice piece of journalism, too!).

But enough about that Shane Cummings guy.

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