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OPINION: Local papers should not be all happy news

OPINION: Local papers should not be all happy news
01 Jun
2:39

When I was called a month ago and asked if I would come to Mount Isa to edit the local paper for a fortnight, I didn’t think twice.

After growing up in Clermont and now living in Emerald (with a few moves in-between from Mackay to the Sunshine Coast to Rockhampton), I have a passion for regional towns, and a large desire to visit as many as possible. 

I work for Queensland Country Life as the Central Queensland reporter. My day job is travelling between farms and cattle properties talking prices, cropping, and – of course – the season. 

But for the last two weeks it has been a step back into community news for me – something I haven’t done for more than two years. 

It reminded me swiftly of the importance of community, of the spirit, the sporting events, the small businesses – and, while I might be biased, the local paper.

The past two weeks have not been without controversy and some big stories.

Some, people loved. Some, people hated. 

But it’s my strong opinion that your local paper is not here to be a songbird of only the lovely things that happen in your community.

Local papers are for information. They’re for court appearances, for council matters, for police jobs and for political updates – whether they be positive or not. 

If you appear in court, you run the risk of being published. If you don’t like it, maybe consider not ending up in court. 

The day your local paper becomes all happy news is a sad day indeed. 

Instead, embrace the fact that you have quality full-time journalists here who spend their days producing a publication for you to read. 

The paper is not a Facebook page. It’s not meant to be filled with praise and propaganda. 

I have had the most amazing fortnight in Mt Isa, and I know I’ll be back soon. 

Everyone has asked me what my favourite story was from the region, and I have to say it was Project Booyah.

I was blown away by the project and the woman behind it. I hope to see more federal funding announced soon. 

– Kelly Butterworth. 

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