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 didnâ€™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.Â
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 â€“Â of course â€“Â the season.Â
But for the last two weeks it has been a step back into community news for me â€“Â something I havenâ€™t done for more than two years.Â
It reminded me swiftly of the importance of community, of the spirit, the sporting events, the small businesses â€“Â 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.Â
But itâ€™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. Theyâ€™re for court appearances, for council matters, for police jobs and for political updates â€“Â whether they be positive or not.Â
If you appear in court, you run the risk of being published. If you donâ€™t like it, maybe consider notÂ ending up in court.Â
The day your local paper becomes all happy newsÂ is a sad day indeed.Â
Instead, embrace the fact that you have quality full-time journalists here who spend their days producing a publication for you to read.Â
The paper is not a Facebook page. Itâ€™s not meant to be filled with praise and propaganda.Â
I have had the most amazing fortnight in Mt Isa, and I know Iâ€™ll be back soon.Â
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.Â
– Kelly Butterworth.Â