Former Chronicle editor, Clementine Norton. Photo: Robyne Cuerel / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Former Chronicle editor, Clementine Norton. Photo: Robyne Cuerel / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Past editor says Chronicle’s future in good hands

WRITING for the Chronicle was above all a privilege.

After moving to Maryborough as the Chronicle’s news editor, my very first day was spent in gumboots and life vests, as my arrival had coincided with the peak of the 2011 floods.

I remember I caught a ride in a tinnie and spent the day stuck in isolated Granville.

I was so grateful for the patience and generosity of people there who made sure I could spell suburbs like Maaroom correctly, and helped me find a way back to the office.

That community spirit and hearing the wonderful stories of people from our region was what made working for the paper such a great joy.

Taking the reins as editor of the Chronicle was a proud yet humbling time, and I often reflected on the great trust people have in the newspaper.

The Chronicle was a vital part of peoples’ daily lives for more than 160 years and our readers have always had a strong connection and sense of ownership over the paper, scolding us when we made a mistake (like removing the beloved Phantom comics, which were quickly reinstated after a massive outcry) and praising when we achieved results for our community.

The staff always understood and respected the responsibility they held – where else would you find staff working from a partially-submerged office, sandbags already giving way to floodwater, trying to print a newspaper so people knew help was at hand when Maryborough went underwater?

That drive and determination was repaid with the loyalty of generations of readers, contributors and letter writers who became just as much a part of the paper as those who worked there.

While the editor may be a figurehead, they are absolutely nothing without their team, and I was so fortunate to work with dedicated, talented people who remain just as passionate about the Fraser Coast and news as I am.

The list of names could fill a book, but special acknowledgment must go to Kerrie Alexander, Susie Dahl, Boni Holmes, Averyll Loft, Toni McRae, John Grey, John Baker, Karlie Thomsen, Valerie Horton, and the inimitable Alistair Brightman.

Each of these talented, hardworking people gave so much of themselves to the paper, and their fair-minded, knowledgeable influence in our daily news has left a mark on the Fraser Coast community – whether it’s a news clipping now proudly framed on the wall, or roads fixed as a result of their advocacy.

While the presses may no longer run, the Chronicle’s digital storytelling is now in the well-deserving hands of Jessica Grewal, skilled senior reporter Carlie Walker and their team, and there is no one better placed to take the news into this brave new era.