A proud history of covering the shire and its stories
FROM the Tweed, for the Tweed - it sounds like an election slogan but it has been a simply philosophy of mine when it comes to the Tweed Daily News.
At a time when the paper is entering a new phase in news delivery, I can look back and feel extremely fortunate to have had a career which not only allowed me to live in a place where I was born and bred but one that I love with a passion.
There aren’t too many people who can say that.
When it comes to journalism, I was a “late bloomer”, being taken on board at the Tweed Daily as a cadet at the age of 24.
I feel blessed to have entered the profession that way because it put me in contact with seasoned journos who showed me the ropes, criticised my writing, gave me a hard time and made me aware that journalism, especially regional journalism, isn’t just a job, it’s calling.
I know that may sound lame but the one thing that you soon realise if you are a country journo is that you are part of the community.
The people you write about are those who you deal with on a daily basis, they are people you do business with, they are people you socialise with and they are people you rely on to keep you employed.
Over the years, my role at the ‘Snooze’ - (a term which we Tweed locals use both with endearment and condemnation but we can because it is ‘our paper’) - I have done just about every role in the editorial department from cadet to editor and everything in between.
I have worked with some bloody great journos with decades of knowledge, I have seen some very talented young journos come through and go on to greater things and have sadly lost some very close colleagues on the way.
The Tweed Daily News has been my life and many who know me associate me with this paper.
For that I feel honoured but one person doesn’t make a paper, especially one with a 132 years of history behind it.
Working on a newspaper can be a bit like riding a bus - people get on and off but each of those people brings something which adds to your life.
To list those who have played a major part in my life would require more space than is allowed (I will be in touch with you all) but there are some who do deserve a special mention.
Graham Callaghan, Marion Walsham and Ken Sapwell took me under their collective wings and taught me interview techniques which remains with me to this day.
The success of any journo is developing a sense of trust and they were excellent at that.
Peter Barnes was the first chief sub-editor I worked under and not knowing the first thing about subbing, his patience and guidance was instrumental in my furthering my career.
Mollie Butler was an ‘institution’ at the Tweed Daily and her ability to build connections and news sources was enviable.
During my time, I worked under nine editors.
I always said to a colleague, “if I worked for 10 editors, I’d leave”. (Funny that I make number 10).
One editor in particular stood out for me, Ian McCormack. He was much loved by his staff and he showed me that the best way to get the most out of people was to treat them as a vital part of the team, praise them for what was good and provide constructive criticism in a manner which people would take on board, not resent.
For young journos like Tania Spiers-Phillips, Chris Leslight, Steve Spencer and myself, his advice is something which we all took forward.
In 2009, when I was Sports Editor, I was made redundant from the Tweed Daily News but quickly found work at the Gold Coast Sun.
And while I wasn’t working in the Tweed anymore, my heart and interests were firmly centred here - after all I live in the shire.
As they say, “what goes around, comes around” and in 2018 I found myself back at the Tweed Daily News as editor.
The role has brought me back to covering the Tweed with renewed passion and interest, meeting old friends and making new ones.
I have also been fortunate to work with some great people both within the Tweed Daily and in the community.
The enthusiasm of my colleagues, journalists Jodie Callcott, Jessica Lamb and photographer Scott Powick have made the job extremely rewarding.
For me, the Tweed community and serving it as best I can has always been the greatest part of being a journalist.
From general news to council and especially sport, I have felt very lucky to have a job which offered so much diversity.
I know there are many people in the Tweed who I call friends who I would never have met had I not been at the ‘Snooze’.
Now it is time to close another chapter in my life and that of the Tweed Daily News.
News delivery is entering a new phase and I have no doubt the passion which was instilled in me for the Tweed will be passed on to the journalists charged with that responsibility.
To all those who have contributed to my life at the Tweed Daily News over more than 35 years - a heartfelt thank you.
Good luck in the future,