FROM THE EDITOR: Times, they are changing
On this historic day, as the final print edition of the Chronicle lands on driveways and news agency stands, we reflect on 160 years of local journalism.
IN two "tumbledown cottages" on Lennox St, a handful of people in humble surrounds, but with the right skill set to give their growing community a newspaper, put out the first edition of the Maryborough Chronicle.
They could never have predicted how the decades ahead would unfold but their efforts ensured the people of this region were informed and had a voice through world wars, pandemics, economic depressions and the evolution of towns into cities.
By the time this cadet reached the floor of the Chronicle newsroom 14 years ago it was just in time to be trained by the best in the business.
The debt owed to the woman on the right side of these pages for first taking a chance and then throwing into the deep end with heavy doses of tough love (and sometimes just tough) is a common theme for countless journalists who have gone on to do big things, as it is throughout today's paper.
So too is the use of the word "privilege".
The frequency shouldn't detract from the punch. People in the news business say it's a privilege because it is.
Few other words are more appropriate when you have, time and time again, been allowed into the homes of people who have just lost their child on a stretch of neglected highway, taken into confidence by a whistle-blower, and entrusted to tell a story which will take pride of place in a frame alongside wedding photos and sporting trophies.
We are acutely aware that with this privilege comes great responsibility, not only to continue to serve our community but also to honour the people who have gone before us and fill these pages today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ended lives and industries long before their time.
The first days and weeks in this business were bedlam - papers were put out by a team living as far apart as Maaroom and Point Vernon.
Soon however we learnt that bringing you the news was still possible in trying circumstances.
It wasn't about the building.
It was the experience and skill set to get to the heart of a story and hold people to account despite the risk of lawsuits and all the things that advertising magazines masquerading as newspapers and administrators on community Facebook pages shy away from.
Knowing it was possible did not lessen the force of the crushing blow dealt the day the people writing the news became the headline.
Knowing there is a harsh truth when we say we are moving our business to where "the majority of our readers are" doesn't mean that any of the journalists on the ground are not laying awake at night grieving the loss of print and thinking of our readers, particularly the generation who helped shape our region in the paper's golden years and coming up with plans to ensure they do not get left behind.
So today, we bring you the last ever print copy of the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
The extraordinary times in which we found ourselves in recent months meant we didn't have access to all the archives we would have liked to for this final edition.
But as morning rituals take place for the last time this today, we celebrate with you.
We grieve with you and we thank you.
Come Monday, however, with the knowledge this company could have pulled the cord on local news altogether but believed local journalists were still needed on the ground in communities like the Fraser Coast, a scarred but battle-ready team of journalists will be ready to prove it was the right choice.
A handful of determined people, still with print ink flowing through veins but with the skills to tackle new tech will, in humble surrounds, fire up their computers, flex their fingers and begin the journey of ensuring the people of the Fraser Coast continue to be informed and have a voice in this brave new world.
We'll meet you there.
When our chief photographer Alistair Brightman arrived at event, you knew the Chronicle was there. When news broke, he was on scene. Today, we pay tribute to our much-loved legend of the lens and share just some of his incredible work.
Nancy Bates OAM, the Chronicle's longest serving editor, first female editor of a Queensland newspaper, legendary editor and dear mentor and friend to this editor has shared this moving piece about the ink which flows through her veins.
Hear from long-time readers about their experience
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