Tuesday, 30 March 2010

At last received word from a major source for the gambling story that they would approve a set of questions I will be able to ask one of their employees.

All in good time and not a moment too soon.

The story has been brewing for about two years. I originally gave a shout out to bring onboard a native Chinese-speaker - to facilitate negotiations with interview prospects - in December 2007. We began to talk to people in early 2008 and found two reformed gamblers who were willing to go on the record - under assumed names - about their experiences.

We went to a casino and talked to employees there. We talked with staff at gambling counselling units. We talked to the police.

I was still working at the time and my collaborator was still studying, so finding time to work on the story was problematic. We stalled in mid 2008. In early 2009, I stopped working and took up writing full time, which freed up a lot of time to do research. But other stories took precedence. It was important to build a portfolio and the gambling story was not yet mature enough to run in a newspaper.

More recently, I visited a gambling service run by the NSW government and talked with a senior counsellor. She asked me to submit questions for vetting and approval, which I did. Today, they told me that most of the questions would probably be approved, pending one last hurdle.

So I wrote out the pitch and sent it to the journalist who started this whole endeavour. She works at The Sydney Morning Herald and is well known for the social issues she covers in her stories. Hopefully, she will respond positively next week.

Until then, I'm flying down to Sydney for a week for some rest and recreation.

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