Now for something completely different! This interview is with an amazing Canberra couple whose life together has been full of unpredictability, adventure and a shared love of their family, work and food. Ginger Gorman would be a name familiar to anyone who listens to ABC 666 in Canberra as she is a regular broadcaster, producer and writer. She is also passionate about social media and lectures on social media at the University of Canberra. Her husband Donnie Gomez is also a fascinating man (I’ve just become a fan of his science fiction movie blog). After reading this great story written by Megan Doherty in the Canberra Times I wondered if Ginger and Donnie were destined to meet and fall in love and marry and have kids through some sort of cosmic destiny that brings people who love food together. After this interview I’m starting to become certain of it. Anyway, read the story here first, and then enjoy the rest of the interview (which unlike all the other interviews so far, is in stereo, with Ginger’s and Donnie ‘s matching answers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Ginger and Donnie: Who are you?
Ginger: I’m an ABC radio presenter, reporter and producer, based in Canberra. During my media career I’ve worked for ABC Local Radio, Triple J, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Fairfax Community Newspapers. I also occasionally write freelance articles. I specialise in creative boundary-pushing radio and social justice journalism and have won multiple awards for my work in print and radio journalism. Another passion is social media, especially its integration with traditional media.
Donnie: I’m a husband, father, civil servant and former postdoc with 10 years research experience in microbiology, invasion biology and population genetics. I’m currently undertaking a Masters degree in Science Communication at the Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science.
Don loves a good yarn and is interested in how fiction and narrative can shape public perceptions and attitudes towards science. He is currently writing up his research on the influence of the television show Breaking Bad on public attitudes towards science. How cool is that?!
Age? Ginger: 37. I usually forget my age. Honestly, I do. I inadvertently told The Canberra Times I was 37 when I was 36. It never seems like the most important or relevant information about a person. Donnie: 36.
Where do you live? We live in the inner north. Last year we bought a cute little ex-Govie near the shops, a lovely school and the park. And we have four sets of amazing neighbours next door and across the road. All the kids play together and we (the street) hold Happy Hour for the parents about once a month on a Sunday. You just could not ask for a better street or community.
How long have you been blogging? Ginger: I’ve been writing for more than a decade and it’s one of my great passions but the truth is life is so busy with our two little girls, it’s rare I actually get to write print articles or blog in the way I’d like to. In a few years when our girls are a bit older, I’ll get back to it. I often write whole articles in my head, but never get to write it down. Donnie: I’ve been blogging (sciencebyfiction.net) since 2012, but took a one year hiatus after the birth of our second child in 2013. I really should get back into it.
Other hobbies? Ginger: Outside work I’m a wife and mum, junk collector, op shopper, fabric hoarder, writer, talker, reader, cook, eater, retro frock and art lover. Donnie: Gaming: PC, PS3 and PS4.
Apple or Android? Ginger: Apple. My husband converted me. Donnie: Apple 🙂
Car/bus/bike? Ginger: At the moment we have two children under four. Therefore it’s often easiest to drive. But in an ideal world it would be tram, train, bike or walking. In Amsterdam I biked everywhere and it was a joy. City planners, where are our trams and safe bike lanes? Donnie: Bus – a great way to catch up on some reading and/or sleep.
Favourite devices? Ginger: My tablet. Donnie: iPad and iPhone
Can we take a peek at your home screen?
Most-used app? Ginger: Social media and traditional media apps are the ones I look first thing in the morning and regularly during the day. I might also sneak in a look if the kids wake me up at 2 or 3 am and I can’t get back to sleep. Whenever I can I squeeze in podcasts too. My favourites are from public radio in the States. They make some of the best radio in the world: This American Life, Radiolab and 99% Invisible. Donnie: Safari.
Favourite social media? Ginger: Twitter. I’m interested in the incredible ideas-generating force Twitter has become. If you follow smart, informed people from across the spectrum you can essentially collate your own newspaper of breaking news and ideas. At its best, it can be an exciting and dynamic platform. At its worst, the trolls are vicious and persistent. You can follow me @freshchilli Donnie: Facebook user and Twitter consumer (@hairycanary).
What’s the first thing online you check each morning? Ginger: Social media and traditional media. Donnie: It’s a tossup between The Age and the SMH. These are also the last things I check online before going to bed.
What do you worry about at night? Ginger: I always worry about social justice issues. I’m concerned about those of us who are not treated fairly and perhaps don’t have the resources, education or advantages that others in society have. That’s what I tend to focus on in my radio work. On a more personal level, I worry about climate change. If the planet is set to warm four degrees in my kids’ lifetime, what will life be like for them in the decades to come? Will there be food and water security? What kind of health issues and civil unrest will arise because the planet is warming? What kind of world am I – are we – leaving our children? Donnie: Getting through the evening without the kids waking us up. Ginger and I are much nicer people when we have enough sleep.
Most exciting recent news? Ginger: In 2006 I was the first ABC person to ever go on a World Press Institute fellowship in the United States. In June WPI holds its 50th anniversary celebrations in Minnesota. Former fellows from all over the world are returning for a four-day conference focusing on covering conflict and reporting in restricted zones. Some of these folk are extraordinary. For example, they may have risked their lives in non-democratic countries to report on power abuse and corruption. I’ve got plenty to learn and discuss with them. I can’t wait. Donnie: We have just moved our children into the same bedroom. We have been putting it off for a few months of fear of more interrupted sleep, but the transition has excelled our expectations. Better yet, we have our spare room/study again!
Ideal career? Ginger: I’d love to present a weekly national radio show based around collaborating with the community using social media. Donnie: I’m really interested in in science policy and engagement and would love to be involved in work understanding how to influence policy and public perceptions about science issues like emerging technologies and engaging young people in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Recent book you recommend? Ginger: I didn’t read it recently but my favourite book of all time is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I also love Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Donnie: Michel Faber’s Under the Skin. A dark, satirical story of an alien that seduces and abducts men to feed her own kind. I can’t wait to see how Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast and Birth) interprets the text on film and captures the novel’s satirical narrative on identity, gender and humanity.
Recent online video you laughed at? Ginger: I’m an issues-based media consumer, so I don’t really spend time watching light hearted videos. For example I’ve been thinking about why photojournalism is an important part of telling a story and I came across this powerful piece, which says it all: http://media.smh.com.au/system/ipad/kate-geraghty-herald-photographer-3036882.html Donnie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6tKZ-cg4RI C’mon…it’s funny! Right!?
Favourite food? Ginger: We make Vietnamese pho at home. We cook the stock in a slow cooker for 12 hours. With thinly sliced high-quality steak and fresh garden herbs, plenty of lime, chilli and fish sauce, it’s wonderful. A close second is Thai mango sticky rice made the traditional way. Lately I’ve also been binge-cooking mini vanilla cupcakes with fluffy icing. I found a British recipe that is simply perfect. Donnie: Sushi, sashimi, steak tartare, oysters natural, and a lush panacotta.
Cool interview! Such a wonderful and interesting couple. I’ll finish off with a lovely picture of a salad Donnie created from tomatoes and herbs in his own home garden: a stacked insalata caprese!