JOHN MENADUE. The Transition of Pearls & Irritations

To readers and supporters

With good content and only word of mouth promotion we have over 6500 subscribers and about 5000 daily readers. There is steady growth. P and I helps set the agenda on important public issues.It will not come as a surprise to you that we are looking to migrate P & I to a safe home, either an individual(s) or an organisation that shares our values and beliefs.

P & I doesn’t attempt ‘balance’. It has a point of view.  

The reason for the ‘migration’ are fairly obvious. Susie and I rely on writers, family and friends who generously provide extensive and free personal and technical support.

We are not getting any younger!

Our work load is rapidly increasing . That increase has been in part self inflicted as well as by the very encouraging response to the blog. About half the articles come in unsolicited.

P & I is not a commercial enterprise. We have deliberately steered clear of advertising and subscription revenue. We do not pay contributors. We have no paid staff. In  future, that non-commercial approach may need to change as a new operator(s) takes over.

We are actively seeking to reduce our workload. We have dropped most Saturday postings. We will reduce the number of postings.  We are also developing a more collegial approach whereby some colleagues are assisting in sourcing articles in subject areas. We  need to get the balance right between original material and reposted articles from other media. We also hope soon to encourage more contributors to ‘draft post’ directly to the site. I will continue to make the final decision when and whether to publish.

There are several possibilities for the future.

  • A compatible individual or organisation could progressively ‘take over’ P & I. I would continue to write occasional articles and hopefully contributors would continue to support P & I.
  • We could raise, say $100,000 p.a. through a benefactor(s) or as the Guardian and others do, with small contributions. Funds would be used to contract a Blog Manager. (It would add to our work if Susie and I had to set up a company structure, bank account and payroll for such employment. We need an ‘arms length’ arrangement. Perhaps a supporting organisation could arrange this and we would contract with that organisation.)
  • Reduce P & I to  three days a week. Perhaps we post too much anyhow!
  •  The least attractive option would be to close P & I when Susie and/or I find it impossible to continue. That would happen immediately if Susie or I became seriously ill. Perhaps social media like P and I have a short shelf life and must make way for new people with new ideas and enthusiasm

We would be interested in your comments, practical suggestions or possible offers as to how we should best proceed. Please reply to

John Menadue


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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17 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. The Transition of Pearls & Irritations

  1. Avatar Jennifer Ashton says:

    John and Susie, thank you for P and I. Like others, I find it a voice of reason in a maelstrom of quick fix, click bait multi-media reporting and sensationalising.

    Let me take the articles on refugees and immigration as an example. This is a field that I know well, having worked for UNHCR in all sorts of asylum situations for 23 years. How refreshing to have former senior Immigration officials give their informed and well articulated analysis of the current and often deplorable state of asylum and immigration policy/practice.

    You have attracted a wonderful assemblage of respected commentators, from Ramesh Thakur (a fellow UN retiree) to Mungo Maccallum, a favourite for many years now. Oh, that you and Susie were immortal, but as this is not to be, can I offer any support practicable to make P and I sustainable in the long-term.

  2. Avatar Ward Hack says:

    John, I appreciate being exposed to the articles you include and would be happy to subscribe a reasonable sum if this is the model you adopt. It would be a shame if your work is not continued somehow.

  3. Avatar Kevin Brown says:

    Thank you John and Susie for your selfless effort in providing such a great source of thought provoking reading.

    Like a number of your other readers I would be very happy to pay a subscription, or to make a donation, to help lighten your load and to ensure continuance of this important
    independent blog.

  4. Avatar Rosemary O'Grady says:

    It goes without saying that this is a treasure-trove.
    If you can set-up a bank account and a PO Box address I shall contribute ready money by New Year. I am an a-plastic. 3 x per week is fine by me. Even x 1 per week!
    Whatever you decide – thank-you: Heroes, in the true sense of the word.

  5. Avatar Rob Bickford says:

    Thanks to you both for your unmissable posts! I would pay a sub for your pearls, and hope you can find like-minded management.
    I hope it can avoid The Conversation ‘s rather unctuous paternalism.

  6. Avatar John cristow says:

    Hi John,

    My belief is that the best independent sites like yours and independent Australia have become critically important to share real news and analysis. I believe this sort of information is actually playing a significant role in helping people to see through the blatant lies and spin of corporate and political interests and the propaganda driven vested media which support them.

    It’s important to keep it alive and growing.
    At the very least a subscription of $50 per year would be worth doing immediately, even if it’s voluntary or gets subscribers more content.
    If 2000 of your 6000 subscribers sign up that’s 100,000, and hopefully it continues to gain subscribers and fees from there.

    Thanks and will keep thinking.


  7. Avatar Ed Cory says:

    I will echo the chorus of ‘thanks John, Susie and contributors’. A late comer to P&I, I find it a treasure in a somewhat dismal landscape.

    I am happy to become a subscriber, though that model (by itself) appears necessarily short-term. Equally, if you John/Susie put it on a 3 days a week basis I would be happy if that was a viable alternative to a truncated life for P&I.

    While I would view with trepidation handing the reins over, I accept the realities that you face. I have every confidence that you will make good decisions about the future for P&I (and yourselves of course). As a reader I am thankful for what I have gained from the blog, and as nothing is fixed in this impermanent word I accept that sooner or later changes will occur – some I will like, others I will not.

  8. Avatar Kevin Bain says:

    It’s not social media but public interest journalism and its expanded breadth and expert contributors is a winning formula for these times. For me it has become a source of news and opinion uncluttered by intrusive “journalistic flair” which adds clutter but little value. I often come back to it a few days afterwards because so many posts have a longer relevance.

    As there seems to be an explosion of writers and journalism students while the paid media jobs available implodes, perhaps a home in a journalism faculty would enable some project development on presentation and ideas for further growth. An example of good production values is

  9. Avatar Sid Boucher says:

    I find your blog very interesting, a good range of topics and viewpoints albeit generally ‘leftish’ but if you want views from the right there is always TalkBack radio. I would be prepared to make a small regular donation to keep the blog alive.

  10. Avatar neil hauxwell says:

    What ever you decide- thanks for P&I so far
    Clearly I’d far prefer 3 days to none at all

  11. Avatar Bruce Waddell says:

    Age is the friendly visitor who doesn’t know when you have had enough to leave unprompted. Readers might well be the same. Personally, I wouldn’t mind contributing as your world view is well described in its name. The pearls shine through the irritations to a pleasing degree. It would be a loss if you closed it down so it is hoped you can find the assistance you need. Without thinking it through properly I wonder if P&I could auspiced by The Conversation to meet the prudential requirements. In anticipation I thank you for your passionate work.

  12. Avatar Max Bourke AM says:

    Thank you John I would be happy to be come a paying subscriber.

  13. Avatar Ian Webster says:

    John and Suzie and supporters,

    Thanks for keeping us abreast of contemporary and too often troubling directions in our and the international community.

    Your point of view is cherished by your ‘followers’ and we hope we will see you contributing still into the future. We can all appreciate the effort put into maintaining P&I and it is time for some others to pull their weight as well. I, for one, have struggled to keep up with the range of excellent material P&I has hosted but I will continue to dip into its opinions for the years ahead.

    Thanks for from all of us.

    Christmas and New Year best wishes and for the years beyond

  14. Avatar John Gray says:

    This is a great organisation you have set up John. It reminds me so much of the Nation Review newspaper that I would look forward to each Sunday. I seem to recall the acerbic and great Mungo MacCallum used to write for it. It would be a great loss if you had to shut it down due to age, ill health, etc. I, unfortunately, am retired and not up picking up the mantle but I do hope that someone(s) step up to the plate.
    I do sometimes feel that you could easily cut back to 3 issues a week. I suppose that the problem is, that in these dark times, with so many issues that cry out to be addressed, three emails a week may not be enough.
    We have little enough left leaning press as it is … the ABC is still hamstrung by its “balanced and unbiased” reporting charter.
    GetUp does a great job of getting issues in front of people who are members but it of course is grass roots activism and highly selective. With P & I we get a great cross-section of articles and writers.
    So, that is my two cents worth but thanks for all that you do John.

  15. Avatar mark elliott says:

    As one of your avid readers I would hope that any change brings more of this often quality content.Good luck with the maturing of p&I. Please why not an article on Pell. Why did I have to read about this in the washington post.Musings about autocracy seem to be a bit close to the bone of late!!!

  16. Avatar D Williams says:

    I love P & I and would hate to see it fold.
    If possible, keep up the great work! Have read some wonderful writers thanks to you. Hardly ever bother with mainstream (establishment) media anymore. Perhaps reducing it to 3 days per week is best and spreading the load onto others. Of course, the health of yourself and Susie comes first.

  17. Avatar Barry Reynolds says:

    John, I for one appreciate the effort you put in to running this site and would be happy to pay a donation now and then as I can afford it to help with the running of the site. Many other independent news sites operate on this model.

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