Introducing the new editor of Blind Citizens News

28/3/2018

By Jonathan Craig

 

Dear Members,

I’m writing to introduce myself as the new editor of Blind Citizens’ News. The opportunity is a privilege and an honour. At 27, I’m the magazine’s youngest ever editor, but I’m well-aware of its long history and remarkable legacy. I hope to uphold that legacy, while looking forward to a future full of change and possibility.

Thank you to everyone at BCA who has welcomed me so warmly, and trusted me with such an important responsibility. I’d also like to personally thank Emma Bennison for believing in me, and for our conversations about what BC News could be. Finally, thank you to former editor Lynne Davis, whose generous and patient mentorship has already proven invaluable.

I’m a journalist and social media manager, with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. I’ve also spent 5 years presenting community radio online to a global audience. I have more hobbies than anyone should juggle, including record-collecting, cooking, piano, Netflix, and reading and writing science fiction.

Along with my vision impairment, I have brittle bones, and use a wheelchair outside my house. I believe living with multiple disabilities has given me a unique perspective on the disability sector, and how the vision impaired community can learn from other groups, and vice versa.

For more about me, you can listen to me saying “um” and “ah” a lot on New Horizons episode 543. But this post, and this job, is much more about you.

As editor, I hope to bring a wider variety of voices and views to BC News, to reflect the incredible diversity of ideas and perspectives which I see in the Australian blind community. I’m here to help you tell your stories.

To those who’ve written for BC News before, pick up your metaphorical Braillers, using proper technique to avoid back injury, and think about those things you’ve been hesitant to say. Now is the time to say them. To those who’ve never written for us, or even for anyone, this is your chance to have your words published, and benefit from my experience.

If you’re passionate about a subject and want to write about it, but don’t know where to begin, please feel free to get in touch. Having published more than 100 articles in various styles and venues, I can offer a lot of insight into how to best approach a topic.

I’m looking for a wide variety of formats, from news stories to informative articles to opinion pieces and personal reflections.

I’m also very fond of letters to the editor, an old tradition which I believe has new relevance in this age where everyone can speak their mind, but nobody knows who to listen to. If there’s an issue you want to see covered in BC News, or in general discussed more, write to me about it. Remember to tell me why it’s important to you.

Here are a few topics which I’d personally like to see more of in our pages:

  • Cooking and Food

I’m not looking for recipes. Why do you love, or hate cooking? What got you interested in food? What has helped, and not helped you? Tell us about your challenges and victories.

  • Travel

What barriers do you face when travelling as a vision-impaired person? What needs to change to make travel more fun and accessible? What positive experiences have you had.

  • Multiple Disabilities

How has living with multiple disabilities affected your sense of identity? Have you found difficulty accessing resources, services, communities? Where have you felt excluded or included?

  • Dating and Relationships

Today’s culture of online dating can be challenging even without a disability. I’d love to see more advice and anecdotes about balancing caution with fun in an environment which offers many risks and rewards.

  • Mental Health

The focus on emotional well-being at last year’s Convention raised some very important issues. There’s always more to be said about improving and acknowledging our mental health, which remains stigmatised within the vision impaired community, as it is in Australia generally.

If I haven’t mentioned your pet subject, don’t be discouraged. There are far more things I’d love to investigate than I could possibly point out here. BC News will continue to inform you on the topics it already covers well. And part of my role is to find out what people are worrying and wondering about. I’m eager for that new angle no one else has thought of.

Submissions for my first issue are due by April 20. You can submit your articles in the following ways:

  • By Email, to bca@bca.org.au, with Blind Citizens News in the subject line.
  • In Braille or print via mail to Ross House Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Vic 3000.

If you have further questions about how or what to submit, please feel free to email the above address, or call BCA on 1800 033 660, and I’ll soon be in touch with you directly.

I’m looking forward to an exciting future for BC News, and I hope all of you will be a part of it, as readers, listeners, or writers. Again, I’m here to help you tell your stories. And stories are powerful. They can open minds and open doors in ways you can never predict or imagine.

So write down that deadline, April 20, in your diary, and start thinking. What story can you tell?

Yours sincerely,
Jonathan Craig
Editor, BC News