Meet the speakers: Grant Jones
You’re a senior editor, journalist and author. What do you love about what you do?
Connecting with people. Being a journalist offers the opportunity to talk to people from all walks of life and to be able to tell their stories where often they wouldn’t be heard, be it sad, uplifting, crazy or adventurous.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
The variety. Starting in newspapers when typewriters were still in use; seeing the evolution of computers in print, moving into TV and radio; living in London and Hong Kong as a working journalist; travelling as a journalist; being offered the opportunity to edit a variety of publications and now using all those skills to be able to earn a living as a freelance magazine editor, content editor and video producer, among other things.
What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?
Agility and the ability to distinguish what is good for you which may not necessarily be good for the client. Learn to say no if the match is not right.
Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?
While we all have shared experiences, individuals deal with them differently and there is always something to learn from others. And in a world of home office isolation, and opportunity to meet face to face is a rare thing indeed (save the Rachel’s List Christmas drinks).
While we all have shared experiences, individuals deal with them differently and there is always something to learn from others.
The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your own?
I’m in the middle of building a new website – grantjones.au – that will showcase not only what I have done but what I can do. While static websites might not be ideal, they are the best way to present an interesting CV. My niece and I are collaborating on it together and learning from each other.
You operate on both sides of the fence – editing magazines but also with a foot in the freelance world. What insights does that give you?
To be self-critical. Check your own copy, then get someone else to check it again before you send it to the person who commissioned you to write it. An independent eye on copy / content / layout is invaluable, be it a managing editor, your partner or your 14-year-old tech-savvy kid.
What are your thoughts on AI / ChatGPT?
What a great tool and a shortcut to time-consuming tasks that cost freelancers money. How many listicals could it have written in seconds, compared to the hours that I spent researching. Although its research skills sometimes leave a little to be desired and the phrasing is sometimes a little clinical and robotic, but like any tool, it’s how you use it.
My thoughts on ChatGPT? Although its research skills sometimes leave a little to be desired and the phrasing is sometimes a little clinical and robotic, but like any tool, it’s how you use it.
Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?
We are going to see more content, not less, and in smaller bites/bytes. We need to get clever and invest time in creating original, exciting content with the help of ChatGPT as a research tool. Consumers will quickly swipe any content that does not catch the eye. That includes articles and features swiped from other sources (I’m looking at you AI), so engage the audience and be engaging in all forms of media.
What are you most looking forward to about the Summit?
I’ll let ChatGPT answer that. Oh wait, it brings up 0 results? See, freelancers are not dead in the water yet. Otherwise, as a non-drinker, the hangovers the day after the night before; the big guns (that’s a HMAS Vampire joke) including upskilling with Valerie Khoo – it’s never too late to learn! Oh, and what colour Jac Taylor’s hair will be.
Find out more about Grant on his profile page or listen to his episode of The Content Byte.