Today is an incredibly sad day for Stanthorpe and many communities around Queensland and New South Wales. For the past 148 years the Stanthorpe Border Post, (Stannum Miner, Egg Timer, The Boundary Peg, The Stannum Roarer, The Border Ghost and the names go on) has steadfastly served this community. No matter who the owned the paper, staff were proud to be the voice of their community through stories and advertising, and loved to be a part of recording our history.
THERE ARE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS WHO WILL MAKE SURE LOCAL AND COMMUNITY NEWS WILL CONTINUE, BECAUSE REGIONAL TOWNS, JUST LIKE STANTHORPE , WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THEIR OWN BACK YARD.
All that changed a few years about when NewsCorp stepped into the picture with their enormous cheque book. Suddenly the word local disappeared and no matter the fight that was put up, the paper was just a tiny link in a global empire. From the first few months, it was apparent small voices did not matter and nor did the history and lives that made this town, and its paper, what it was.
So to hear that the print edition of the Border Post will cease at the end of June comes as no surprise, but is no less a huge kick in the guts of every person who has put their blood, sweat and tears into every edition over its 148 years and to every person who read the pages from front to back (or back to front as I once discovered). It is not just the journalists, it is every person, from the front counter staff, to the advertising reps, the designers, the copy support and booking clerks and everyone in between. These people were the fabric who bought life to the pages of the paper.
For the past 2 years I have been president of an organisation called Queensland Country Press Association. We represent and fight for community newspapers across regional Queensland and trust me when I tell you, print media is not dead or dying. It may have been callously attacked from an empire, but there are many underdogs who have risen to the challenge of looking after our communities and ensuring the survival of the written word. Trust me when I say….local and community news will continue, because regional towns just like Stanthorpe, want to know what is happening in their own back yard and there are still independent, regional newspapers (just like the Free Times) that will do just that…..report OUR news, tell OUR stories and be OUR voice.
Newspapers are an important and, dare I say it, essential institution in every community. Do you really think the Courier Mail are going to care who our new mayor is, when our next markets are on or who bowled a hat trick on the weekend? Do you think they care about our deaths, births and marriages? Do you think they will run advertising at a cheaper rate because you are from a rural area?
The Stanthorpe Border Post was (and yes, I use the term was) the heart and soul of our community. It was, at one stage, the social cement of the Granite Belt that helped foster our identity. It was the paper that everyone complained about, but the one that you never missed purchasing.
Today is a sad day for journalism, it is a sad day for all those made redundant and it is a sad day for Stanthorpe.
Rupert Murdoch, I hope today you hang your head in shame for the utter disregard you have shown for the lives of everyday, ordinary rural communities.
Robert A. Heinlein once said, “a generation which ignores history has no past – and no future”.
The bosses of NewsCorp would be wise to remember this.