Illustration of colorful books on a shelf against a dark background.
Photo courtesy of Michael Eburn.
Photo courtesy of Michael Eburn.

Table of Contents

What made you become a content creator?

Dr. Michael Eburn of Australian Emergency Law: I began on-line writing back in 2009 when it was all very new.  My then employer was keen for us to share our research and provided a platform where we could experiment with blogging so I decided to give it a go and the rest, as they say, is history.

What are some of the challenges you face as a content creator?

Michael Eburn: The biggest challenges are time pressures.  I blog about developments in the law and in response to readers' questions. In both cases there is pressure to respond quickly.  Developments must be reported quickly so people know this is a reliable source and they are being kept up to date. Questions also have to be answered quickly because the person who has taken the time to write a question wants to know the answer.  Trying to manage those and also the pressure to post regularly is the biggest challenge. 

What are some digital publications that you follow?

Michael Eburn: I regularly read the Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation and the ABC News online services.

I couldn’t write my blog without Jade–a legal research platform by lawyers for lawyers–that delivers a morning digest of relevant case law that I then look through to see what will be of interest to my readers. 

A favorite blog is Bill Madden’s Wordpress, a great blog on issues to do with medical law.  

An amazing online publication is the Freeman Delusion: The Organised Pseudolegal Commercial Argument in Australia. The ‘Organised Pseudolegal Commercial Argument’ (or OPCA) is an umbrella term that covers a number of pseudo-law claims that have been pedalled to give people false belief that they are not bound by the laws in their state or country and can avoid paying fines, taxes, or overturn the government. Pseudo-law claims have been around for many years but they have seen a recent, and at times violent rise, with objections to Covid vaccinations and more recently transphobic protests.  Written by a former pseudo-law adherent, this publication is a wealth of interesting, well referenced articles and links to case law explaining the history and substance of the various pseudo-law claims and the fate of these claims in the Australian courts.  It is a fascinating insight into a world that is tying up court time, harming its adherents and posing an increasing danger to modern society.

Why did you decide to syndicate your content with Newstex?

Michael Eburn: As a lawyer I make regular use of platforms such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.  I was skeptical when first approached by Newstex, but when I saw that they syndicate through these platforms, I was confident that they were offering a legitimate service both to me as a content creator and to their customers. 

What do you think are the benefits of syndicating your content through Newstex?

Michael Eburn: It will expand the reach of my writing to a new audience and coming via Newstex it will give new readers confidence in the quality of my work--a form of peer review.  I hope it will increase the impact of my work and if it assists a lawyer, and their client (particularly if their client is a member of the emergency services) sometime in the future then that’s great.

What do you like most about creating digital content?

Michael Eburn: I like the immediacy of it--no waiting for reviews and publications. 

I love it that people send me their questions and then engage in discussion about the answers. The questions I get asked raise issues I have not thought about and challenge me to think about the law in new ways, or require me to learn something about emergency service practice. I learn as much from the process as I hope the readers do, and the interaction with my readers is very personal.  It’s a real privilege to be able to contribute to the work of others who serve the community, both paid and volunteer.

What do you dislike most about creating digital content?

Michael Eburn: The time commitment and the need to keep up-to-date and constantly reviewing for changes and developments. 

What inspires you to keep writing?

Michael Eburn: The audience.

What are the top 3 tips you can give to others wanting to develop successful digital publications?

Michael Eburn:

  • Publish regularly.
  • Develop your own voice and stick to your standards. 
  • You can only earn a reputation for reliable expertise over time and people have to know they can trust you, so don’t succumb to the temptation to do it for the money. Do it because you believe in the subject.

Where do you see your publication in 5 years?

Michael Eburn: That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve been writing since 2009, so now 14 years.  Had I been asked that in 2009, I would not have predicted I’d still be here. And with changing technology, the world of digital publications will certainly see sweeping changes. Whether I’ll be able to keep up remains to be seen, but I hope that, if there is still an interest in the topics that I write about, I’ll still be here writing. 

What has been your proudest achievement as a content creator?

Michael Eburn: When I left the University sector, I needed to fund my ongoing work. I approached representative organizations who agreed to sponsor me. This was positive confirmation that they saw my providing value to them, their members and the sector.  I’m grateful to, and proud of, the support provided by the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association, Natural Hazards Research Australia, the NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW State Emergency Service Volunteers Association.

Dr. Michael Eburn is an Australian lawyer and researcher on the law of emergency management and the emergency services. He has advised state and federal governments and international organisations on legal issues in emergency management. Formerly an Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law, he is now working independently on the NSW South Coast.