Walkley-award winning former Daily Mercury editor dies
MACKAY has lost a fearless defender, a storyteller and historian
Friends have confirmed former Daily Mercury editor Rod Manning died on Monday morning, November 30.
Mr Manning worked at the Daily Mercury for more than 40 years, including a long stint as editor from 1980 to 1997.
The Walkley-winning journalist chronicled the biggest tragedies, mysteries, and miracles in the region's history.
Mr Manning was in the newsroom reporting on the disappearance of 14-year-old Marilyn Wallman in 1972 and he was the reporter on the ground in 1960 when the TAA Fokker F-27 Friendship plane crashed off Far Beach, killing everyone on board.
His coverage of that fateful night on June 10, 1960, would later be recognised with a Walkley Award - the highest honour for Australian journalists.
When he reflected on his career in June when the print editions of the Daily Mercury ended, Mr Manning said there were "thousands of stories".
"We covered it all as best as we could," he said.
He said his most memorable stories included the expansion of the coal industry and the development of Dalrymple Bay, the opening of the Entertainment Centre, the establishment of the CQUniversity campus and the Conservatorium of Music, the shifting of the railway station from Boddington St to Connors Rd at Paget, and the new Civic Administration Building on Gordon St.
But away from the headlines Mr Manning oversaw the transformation of journalism in Mackay.
He said journalism as a profession progressed and changed over the decades into what he considered a "craft".
And Mr Manning was at the helm when more women began telling the stories of the region.
"I also noted the coming of women in large numbers to journalism as a major step," he said.
On the 150th anniversary of the Daily Mercury, Mr Manning described how the masthead continued to serve the region despite technological changes.
"They, with their hard-earned newspaper savvy, gave excelling service in an industry that could be laborious, satisfying, exciting, even at times exhilarating," he wrote.
"Those experiences are still with the industry, but under much-changed circumstances.
"With careful planning, hard work and heavy financial expenditure, big hurdles were turned into big opportunities and utilised.
"The enduring essential of all previous change, quality journalism, sometimes described as 'the first draft of history', and its practitioners as formed by an 'unorthodox education' must continue, irrespective of the form it takes.
"The basics, accuracy and immediacy, with a sense of responsibility, are musts."