Welcome to this week’s editorial, What a week this has been. The big one event for the week was the Premier and Local Member making an announcement of $150m to begin the work of delivering a new regional hospital to the Eurobodalla. Following the announcement the inevitable huddles formed asking where it might be when it might be and what it might provide. There was the speculation of what might happen to the old Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals and there was much talk of the history of how we came to the announcement with the naysayers, the critics, the politically opposed all throwing their two cents in the ring. There is little doubt all the rumours and opinions will continue and it is hoped that the good folk of Eurobodalla begin to realise that the hospital will be located where it equitably best serves the community, bound by the zonings, the infrastructure and the support base it needs to best deliver the incredible service it will deliver. It will be our regional hospital, in our region, and will hopefully encourage an exponential increase in the delivery of those services we now have to seek by travelling to other regions. This is indeed a wonderful announcement for the Shire. The second momentous of this week is that The Beagle has turned two years old.
Established in November 2016 the Beagle came into being when we heard that Fairfax were taking our often contributed local community news behind a paywall. And what of those two years….? We have published 7940 articles in that time covering everything from Federal Politics to Jumble Sales. Our readership has climbed to an average of 13,000 per month with an average of 7100 readers who look at the Beagle via the website or Facebook twice daily to catch up with current news and 3800 subscribers to this free mailout with an average of over half actually opening them and reading the latest news when they find time. Being an on-line newspaper our analytics tell us that we have readers across the planet who enjoy catching up as they travel or whilst they escape our winter in Europe or Sth East Asia. This year has also seen collaboration with Ian Campbell of About Regional, The RiotACT in the ACT and with our excellent ABC South East radio that has enabled the Beagle to share their quality stories as well. At this two year mark it is interesting to look back and see the evolution of The Beagle as it is today. A key observation is that there is a measured and solid interest developing in the community around decisions and events that affect them and that they do want to be kept included and well informed so that they can participate in decisions BEFORE they happen. Feedback is that many also appreciate that the Beagle is throwing a massive spotlight on to the Council and “telling it like it is” and “calling them out when required”. The primary role of The Beagle, when it was set up two years ago, was to be an community focused paper and to be an example of a paper that the community might want if asked. A paper that put as much importance on a kids footy team fund raiser as a Federal politicians declaration of a newly endorsed policy. But rather than censor out articles, each and every article, notice and media release is published along with letters, opinions and all the wonderful contributions we have from those who enjoy writing reviews and articles. The Beagle runs on the mere scent of oil of a passing truck. But run it does with the generosity of our local businesses who advertise and with our generous donors who all contribute to keeping the website, insurances and fees paid. I look forward to the year ahead, always curious as to what the Beagle might do next but happy that, from the warm feedback I receive, the effort made to keep you up to date with the warp and weft of our community is worth it. Thank you for your on going support and encouragement that you want free, independent, informed and timely news. Until next Lei