Australian media identity and former magazine editor Phil Abraham has been killed in a surfing accident on the NSW South Coast late last week. Abrahams was a former editor of Tracks and Penthouse Magazine.
The details of the accident are sketchy and B&T only learned of the tragedy late on Friday afternoon when former colleagues contacted the office.
John Birmingham posted the following tribute on his blog Cheeseburger Gothic on Friday afternoon:
Phil Abraham was my editor at Penthouse when I freelanced there in the early 1990s. He was the first editor of a glossy, grown up magazine to commission a story from me, although not the first story I sent him. With Greg Hunter, the features editor at Penthouse, and later the editor at Inside Sport, Phil was largely responsible for turning me into a working magazine writer. I heard today that he has died in a surfing mishap.
Greg proceeded him into the great silence a few years ago. Both gone before their time. The circumstances of Greg Hunter’s passing were especially sad, but I don’t feel free to discuss them here. They reflect very poorly on certain prominent figures.
From Greg I learned a lot about writing. He was in the habit of handing new freelancers a photocopy of Tom Wolfe’s introductory essay from The New Journalism. All eighty pages of it. “Read this and do it,” he’d say.
From Phil I learned about reporting, about chasing a story and not letting go. I also learned from him that the story you most want to write is the story of which you should be most skeptical. He was a brave and conscientious editor who frequently took risks on young, untried writers. There are a whole stable of us who owe our start in the business to him.
And now he is gone.
I shall pour one out for him tonight. With a chaser for Greg.