FLASHBACK: Former Observer editors reminisce
TWO things come to mind when I think of my amazing time at The Observer:
1. The team;
2. The community.
Both of them were incredible. Passionate, supportive, spirited and heaps of fun. I just loved the time I spent there, and it was made even more special when the team we were part of won consecutive PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012. We made history as the first newspaper to have won four awards at the one ceremony, in 2011 when we won three branding and campaign awards and the main newspaper of the year award.
I loved reporting on the birth of the fledgling but multi-billion dollar LNG industry, travelling to Kuala Lumpur as part of an LNG delegation with then Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham and Resources Council head Michael Roche and moderating a fierce and highly volatile community debate around it. I was accused of bias from both sides but we always toed a careful line of impartiality and that is something our team was absolutely steadfast on - we told the whole story. We didn't take sides, we didn't flag politics. We were unapologetic about asking the hard questions - even when we knew some would drag us over the coals for it. We were sympathetic to community causes and campaigned hard when it mattered. We were strong in our coverage of major issues, and we didn't back away from inconvenient or hard-to-hear truths - such as the legacy of incredible wrongs done to our indigenous peoples in our region's early days.
But we also published Sunday editions for HookUp, documented our Priceless Past, ran special industry reports and business awards. If the story needed to be told, we told it. That is the power of print.
Letters to the editor could make you laugh and cry, but the keyboard warriors of the social and digital space were not even a "thing". It's not that long ago; not even a decade. But the end of the era that was print newspapers signals just how fast times are changing.
We ran a campaign called, We Live Here 'Cos we Love It. And that we did. That we love Gladstone, won't ever change. It's only the way we tell our stories that will.
THE Observer was a pretty special place and always a stepping stone for reporters. Often straight from uni, it was a privilege for me to be able to help them learn. I met some fantastic people in Gladstone - in the community as well as at The Observer. I was there at a time of incredible growth with the three LNG plants and our role was highly important to help sort out the growing pains.
Best wishes to my many friends. I wish you well.
Print Editor, 2011-20
IF The Observer newspaper was a grand old dame at a country ball her dance card would be full.
She would have been dancing for decades, if not centuries. The life of the party and always in the know, I'm sure she would be ready with a quickstep, a cheeky glint in her eye and a wonderful laugh.
So it is with a heavy heart that we all share this 'last dance' with The Observer as she heads to the press for the final time.
A digital future calls and it is a far cry from the first hot-metal edition that rolled off the press in 1868.
They say change is the only constant. But while the paper and her city has changed the flow of your stories remains forever constant!
For nearly 10 years I have sent The Observer pages 'to bed' each night with the hardworking team at the Rockhampton press site.
We've been here for you - from disasters to rescues, coal trains to LNG ships, court cases to council polls, Prep kids to 100th birthdays, and so much more. Your stories are endless.
Certainly it is an honour to be a part of this last print edition.
But while it is goodbye from me I know the remaining journalists will be working hard to make sure your stories are told online. Because as a community it is vital we are informed and entertained.
Now that's something to cherish and celebrate.
So let the band play on.