Well THAT freaked me out

No, I didn’t just feel Freddie kick …

I woke yesterday to the news that Sandra Bullock had adopted a daughter …


And my blood ran cold.

I was swept back five years in time, when Sandra announced she’d adopted her son Louis.

I was the editorial director of Woman’s Day, the editor was on holidays. The picture editor dashed breathlessly to my office with the news of an exclusive photo set.

People magazine in the United States was looking to sell its exclusive story of Sandra’s adoption in Australia. Its sister publication, Who magazine, couldn’t afford the asking price.

That asking price, well, it was ENORMOUS.

But I was convinced it was the story of the year.

You see, Sandra had just separated from her cheating husband, Jesse James. She’d just won an Oscar. And she’d somehow managed to keep a new baby secret throughout it all.


People reported: “Bullock, 45, and husband Jesse James, 41, began the adoption process four years ago and brought Louis home in January but decided to keep the news to themselves until after the Oscars. Their close friends and family – including James’s children Sunny, 6, Jesse Jr., 12, and Chandler, 15 – were essential in keeping the adoption a secret.

“Then, just 10 days after the March 7 Oscars, Bullock and James separated following reports James had cheated. Bullock says she is now finalizing the adoption as a single parent.”

Oh. My. God.

I was stunned … which is a rare thing for a weekly magazine editor to be … I HAD to have those photos.

I spent an entire month’s editorial budget on them.

I was crazy.

The magazine tanked. Spectacularly.

The editor was furious that I’d spent all her money while she was gone.

The publisher kindly suggested a hefty cigarette price rise the same week might be to blame, but I was totally shattered.

How could my gut instinct have failed me so badly?

Fast forward five years … I now write a 7am news story for Kidspot every morning. It has to be THE story, the one readers won’t be able to resist clicking onto as they get ready to face the day.

I stared at the news Sandra had adopted again and thought What do I do? 

My gut said it was the story of the morning, but my gut failed me very badly last time.

I took a deep breathe and wrote the story. (Read it here.)

It did pretty well.

Not as well as the story of the YEAR for Kidspot … make that the decade … about how to stop a baby crying.

But it was a long way from a disaster. Quite respectable.

Mass media is a scary beast. I love and fear it in equal measures.

It’s a rush.

But I can’t help wondering whether I’d have a permanent fist of anxiety in my chest if I hadn’t become so entangled in its web.

Song of the day: Marvin Gaye “Heard it though the grapevine”




3 thoughts on “Well THAT freaked me out

  1. Alana, I admire you so much to be able to do this job… and you have a great instinct, I’m sure the hefty cigarette price rise had a lot to do with the magazine not selling as well that week. I thought it was a great story back then. I was editor of Smash Hits a long time ago, and I found even monthly covers and haggling over photos stressful back then – all that turmoil over Spice Girls and Hanson (not Pauline) photos and that was pre-internet! The media seems like nothing then compared to the beast it is today. I have always been very drawn to that world, but always found it so stressful at the same time.

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