Welcome to this week's Editors Choice and to the FIRST edition of the Beagle Weekender, Just over six months ago I took some time out to holiday in Sri Lanka. Away from the day to day distractions of home life I was able to look back towards Eurobodalla and define what I might be able to bring to my community in the way of a community focused newspaper. For eight years I had edited the Tuross Giant, an online village community newspaper that kept Turossians near and far informed of the small detail and the important things happening in their community. The Tuross Giant was a popular read. It was often weighty, often making strong comment of Council and, where able, keeping a watchful eye on behalf of the community. Its role was to celebrate the accomplishments of the community and to also widen the communication base for the Tuross community to ensure that as many as possible were kept informed and included of the goings on in their town. For eight years the Tuross Head community enjoyed a free, on-line independent newspaper. It was a newspaper that was focused on the Tuross Head community. It came about because Tuross was most often overlooked by local media and rarely gained a mention. The small stories of community groups and local projects didn’t count as “news” to the Bay Post / Moruya Examiner. Small detail news wasn’t sexy nor did it sell papers. So most often Tuross, like all the other small Eurobodalla coastal towns, was left unmentioned. In setting up the Tuross Giant it was soon evident that there was a plethora of other small detail “news” items that were also being left untold and that the newspapers were filtering through the piles of media and publicity releases and selecting just a few to publish. Of the many Council and State media releases issued only a handful made it to the papers and publicity of community interests fell to the floor—the result was that we, the community, were left uninformed and in the dark. Last year was also the year where Fairfax and the ABC started rationalise staff. Hundreds were dismissed. Cost cutting put journalists at stretch and across Australia there was a raised cry that the net result of the cuts would bring the demise of investigative journalism as we knew it. Newspaper production was also becoming more expensive, advertising revenue was dropping sharply and sales were down. To survive newspaper websites were retreating behind an on-line subscriber paywall. I made a decision in Sri Lanka to create an independent newspaper that would be free, inclusive of all news, available on-line 24/7, open and transparent and cover the areas that were being overlooked such as local politics along with the small though very important items of local community news that makes up the warp and weft of our community. Lazy palm frond days in Sri Lanka allowed me the opportunity to work out how to do it, the nuts and bolts … and The Beagle was born. The Beagle website is now seven months old and is settling in. There is a wealth of articles in its archives already and every day sees more an more readers and contributors coming on board. Many asked why it was called the Beagle Weekly—today we launch the Weekender—a magazine for your weekend reading pleasure that should sit hand in hand with your Beagle Daily news . Our corner of the world is a very rich area filled with much to be proud and The Beagle Weekly hopes to be able to deliver some of that richness to you, from the Arts, History, Food through to distractions and entertainment. Until next week Lei
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