16 May 2024

Meet the Region Illawarra team: Journalist Dione David

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Dione David with her two children at their Austinmer home

Dione David with her two children at their Austinmer home. Photo: Guillaume David.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Queensland, Dione David was first a journalist for local community newspapers and then a features writer for glossy magazines in the UK.

She completed stints as a copywriter for Fairfax and an online lifestyle features writer, before leaving the media industry altogether and declaring she would never return.

A decade later, when she’s not falling in love with writing again for Region, she’s tending far too many houseplants and enjoying the beautiful chaos of life with her little family in the Illawarra’s northern suburbs.

READ ALSO Meet the Region Illawarra team: Journalist Zoe Cartwright

Though born in Sri Lanka and having lived overseas and in numerous Australian states and territories, putting down roots in one of Australia’s most beautiful seaside locations has felt like coming home for the avid beach-lover.

“I’m what some of the locals call a blow-in, but I do feel I’ve found my home here,” she says.

“It does have a lot to do with our pristine beaches. I love dolphin diving under a wave into that muted world, watching the clear water and bubbles rush past. That’s my happy place.

“But while I came for the beaches, I stay for the people – their passion inspires me daily.”

Dione was working for Region before the launch of the Illawarra publication in 2023.

“Though it’s been wonderful relearning the art of storytelling for Region’s other publications, I have to admit I get a real kick out of telling stories closer to home,” she says.

“I’ve also enjoyed seeing which stories our readers really respond to – stories of the little things that make small communities so special, triumph over adversity, of young trailblazers, pioneers, local legends and those who have come from far and wide to help make our region what it is today.

“I love articles that bring to light important issues I might not otherwise learn of, like Zoe Cartwright’s piece about astroturf (no, not the stuff you pick up at Bunnings).

“I’m a sucker for stories about the awesome people in our region doing awesome things. That’s pretty much our entire Community category, but in recent times I loved Kellie O’Brien’s piece on a badass former police officer turned PI.

“I like to lose myself in articles that paint pictures of days gone by in our region – some grim, some epic, some bizarre and others that simply mattered, like Michele Tydd’s piece on fibro homes.”

READ ALSO Meet the Region Illawarra team: Journalist Zoe Cartwright

Though Dione’s true love lies in fiction writing, she has so far written one chapter of her sci-fi novel over 12 years.

“I hate talking about this book because the first question is always, ‘What’s it about?’ and the second question is ‘When can I read it?'” That always underscores how little progress I have made. There’s some procrastination at play, definitely,” she says.

“Writers – humans, I guess – can be both egotistical and riddled with self-doubt at the same time. The idea of failing at something so personal sometimes seems worse than dying without having done it at all, ludicrous as that is. But I do feel strongly that one day, I’ll get past that fear and just write the damn thing.

“I’d tell you what it’s about, but then I’d have to kill you.”

Get in touch at [email protected]

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