Janette Brennan has written professionally for more than 25 years, working largely for government departments, educational institutions and national magazines since moving from the mainland to Tasmania in 2001. The diverse scope of Janette’s work has ranged from the writing of feature articles to the production of fast fiction, as well as the editing of scientific reports to the preparation of communications plans. Previously writing under her maiden name of Janette Kirkman, her stories have featured in titles such as The Australian Women’s Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Take 5, New Idea and Soap World.
Prior to becoming self-employed, Janette’s professional experience included appointment as the Deputy Features Editor of That’s Life! during the time it became the second-biggest selling magazine in the nation. She also worked as a sub-editor on the ‘round-the-clock World News Desk of Australian Associated Press and was a sports journalist on The Canberra Times – one of only a handful of national female sports reporters during that era.
Some of the major projects on which Janette has been a communications consultant include…
Retaining relationships with younger alumni was a priority when Janette took over as editor and a writer of the University of Tasmania’s biannual magazine, Alumni News (June 2010 to June 2012). For this reason familiar alumni topics regarding Rhodes Scholarships and building bequests began to share pages with more accessible features on horror movies, legendary athletes, reality TV, street art – and hot coffees that disintegrate into thin air when spilt in Antarctic climes. Bold covers were used to invite readers into the refreshed publication and many stories began to be told in the first person, fostering a feeling of intimacy within the alumni community.
A noticeboard cum cheer squad for communities affected by the 2013 Tasmanian bushfires, Recovery News (January to October 2013) was a tool in sharing helpful but often complicated information in an accessible way. This was particularly crucial given that many readers had suffered severe trauma and unwelcome change. But more than facts and stats, Recovery News spoke as an ‘insider’ to celebrate courage as these remarkable people rebuilt their homes, their community and their lives.
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Newsletter
The challenge and opportunity inherent in the newsletter and website for The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (December 2006 to September 2011) was in communicating stories that retained scientific integrity while stirring the passion of ordinary people (as in those of us who doesn’t have a PhD). Articles about genes, transmissible cancers and spotlight data were presented in a way that informed the scientific community while entertaining the general public – so much so that people across the globe began fundraising activities to save ‘their’ devils.