Journalist Q&A: Davey Winder – Part 1

Veteran freelance writer Davey Winder is an essential contact for any business looking to secure coverage in the infosec and business technology space. In the first of our three-part series, éclat Marketing asks how he came to be one of the best-known and most prolific writers in the trade.  

 

Davey, thanks so much for your time. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a ‘greybeard’ freelance technology journalist, or would be were it not for ‘just for men’ dye, with my career starting more than 25 years ago now. I started writing for Commodore Amiga magazines, covering the exciting world of modems and ‘comms’ as it was back then, before moving to the PC beat. I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro magazine, writing about security issues, since the very first issue; I have just filed my copy for issue 290!

I got into both the worlds of writing and online systems after being struck down with viral encephalitis in my mid-twenties, which left me in a wheelchair for five years. Following a year in hospital and rehabilitation, the effects of the disease were similar to suffering a massive stroke, I was then trapped in an unsuitable flat for a further year. During this time, my late father taught me to read again using Janet and John books and a friend lent me a word processor for which he’d coded a spell-as-you-type checker in CP/M to teach me to write through repetition. Another friend lent me a modem, and before I knew it I was learning all I could about the pre-internet world of bulletin boards.

How did you get from re-learning to write to becoming a leading infosec journalist?

Long story short, I invented an online personality called Wavey Davey that got noticed by the newspapers and magazine editors, as well as the BBC, and started writing opinionated pieces for print, TV and radio. My proudest moment, other than when The Observer described me as the Bob Monkhouse of the Internet, was winning the Technology Journalist of the Year award in 1996 when, just five years earlier, I was unable to read or write. I won that award for a feature about the emerging threats to the Internet, and so my security journalism career was born. I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up some other bits of glass over the years, most notably being the only three-time winner of the Information Security Journalist of the Year award and being honoured with receiving the ‘Enigma’ award for a lifetime contribution to information security journalism in 2011.

Where are you writing for these days?

I have never worked in-house, and am unusual in always having freelanced since my very first commission. These days my writing can be found at Forbes.com, The Times and The Sunday Times (via Raconteur Special Reports), PC Pro, Privacy Central, SC Magazine, Infosecurity Magazine, Digital Health Intelligence and others. I have also written the odd book, more than twenty of them in fact, with the last one being a semi-autobiographical exploration of the psychology of online identity (Being Virtual) as a joint venture between Wiley and the Science Museum some ten years ago. Needless to say, I am always open to hearing about new work opportunities be they blogs, white papers, editorial pieces or even books. Once a freelance, always a freelance…

Join us again for part two, where we’ll be asking Davey how he deals with information overload, what makes a great cybersecurity story and more.

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