Ezy Reading:
Evan Kanarakis


It’s hard to believe, but ten years ago this month, Oliver Pennington and I launched The Cud with a decidedly low-key little function at the Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills, Sydney (complete with a trio of cheese platters we haphazardly put together in the hope it might placate the voracious appetites of the many ‘media identities’ we had ambitiously invited along- to our surprise, a few actually showed). We spoke nervously for a few moments into the microphone about our goals with The Cud, stressed our mantra of ‘entertaining a new perspective’, and chatted some of article and essay highlights in the premiere issue. That done, we then proceeded to get terribly drunk, making sure to ply our site designer Hamish Siddins with as much alcohol as possible given he had –unpaid– been suffering through horrendous, epic-hour days rushing to get the website and new issue live in time for our launch reception.

I don’t quite recall where Oli and I were when we came up with the idea of creating a monthly, online magazine, but I do remember the motivation behind it. For one, we were looking to stretch ourselves as writers. We wanted the chance to research and report on issues we might not be able to otherwise, particularly as twenty-somethings who hadn’t yet secured much of a foothold on broader writing opportunities. At the time, we also bore witness to a growing glut of e-magazines and blogs offering up sub-par writing that barely passed as ‘journalism’. We may have been far from established professionals (and I’m not going to sit here and claim that everything we’ve published in The Cud has been Pulitzer-worthy), but we wanted to try and offer a response to that aforementioned glut with competent, ambitious and fresh writing. To that end, we also wanted to provide a means by which talented, up-and-coming writers could still find a forum for their work when opportunities to write in mainstream newspapers or magazines were often limited.

Ten years and well over one hundred issues later, I like to think that we’re still meeting our original goals for The Cud. I’m so very proud that our website was able to provide a ‘first break’ of sorts for journalists that have since gone on to write for the likes of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Jezebel and Slate, just to name a few. If our magazine tagline was to ‘entertain a new perspective’ then we’ve certainly maintained that, having braced our share of controversy over the years. Feature articles that addressed groups as diverse as shark hunters in Australia or Scientologists in Canada generated venomous feedback, while a series of letters we published from a soldier fighting on the frontlines of Iraq in 2005 raised the ire of the U.S State Department (and, in one of the most difficult challenges our site ever faced, we were ultimately forced to take down the letters under the warning that they might reveal information which could be deemed a ‘soldier security risk’).

But we’ve been fortunate enough to receive more positive feedback as well. Tim Ayliffe’s ‘A Day In Ramallah’ (from our very first issue) generated over one hundred letters to the editor alone. This kind of response later tripled and quadrupled –particularly as our core readership shifted from Australia to the U.S and we found an attentive audience with features addressing such subject matter as the oxycontin drug epidemic in America, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or the tragic story of Colonel Ted Westhusing (at the time, Westhusing was the highest ranking U.S soldier to die in Iraq. To date, it remains our most-read article and generated the most letters to the editor one story has ever received- in excess of seven hundred).

The Cud, is of course, nothing without our talented and dedicated team of writers. Over the years many have come and gone, but all have enriched our magazine and engaged our readers with their words. Regular contributors of old as well as more recent years who deserve special mention include Cameron O’Neill, Wilfred Finn, Andrew Coorey, Tony Smith, Chris Muncy, Ivan Head and Dominick Montalto, We must, of course, also extend our thanks to ‘Grea’ for her monthly cartoon contributions to the site, as well as to our many columnists over the years: David M. Fitzpatrick, Daniela Ifandoudas, James Slade, Gordon White, the Loaded Dog and photographer Caitlin Cunningham. While Oli moved on from his role as co-editor a few years ago, as did Hamish in managing the site, both still guest contribute on occasion, and have remained keen supporters of the magazine. In recent years, Mahesh Markus has been responsible for the site’s upkeep and monthly newsletter- my sincerest thanks to him for all of his tireless efforts.

Last of all, I would like to extend our thanks to you, the readers. Back in 2004 I don’t think we really bothered looking so far ahead as to consider if we might grow to reach an international audience or last an entire decade. And yet, as each year has passed, it has been truly gratifying to see our readership not only expand, but go truly global. Your words of support and encouragement over the past ten years from every continent (yes, we’ve even received letters from Antarctica) have spurred us on and kept the magazine alive. For me, The Cud has always been a labour of love. And, whether through my own writing or overseeing the wonderful contributions of so many others, it has been a joy to see this little website keep on keeping on. Here’s to another ten years.


Evan Kanarakis
Editor, The Cud
November 2014


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