Western Downs mayor on the future of digital journalism
A LARGE part of Western Downs’ mayor Paul McVeigh’s life has been documented in the pages of the Dalby Herald and the Chinchilla News.
Before his time as mayor, Cr McVeigh’s memories of the papers go way back into his teens, playing sport with his friends and brothers and having the matches rehashed in sport reports in the papers; the Chinchilla and Dalby rivalry on the rugby league field were played out in detail on the pages of the “local rags”.
Cr McVeigh was there for all stages of every paper – when the Herald moved to once a week, and when both papers moved to a premium, online model.
Now, as the papers cease printing and move to a digital only model, Cr McVeigh said it was no secret that they would be missed in their respective towns.
“It was really about the community information that made people want to read the paper,” he said.
“The Chinchilla News and the Dalby Herald … were our main tools for communications.
“The paper was the glue that kept the community together.”
Being a part of a family who lived in the region for many generations, Cr McVeigh said he was used to seeing names of family members and friends in the paper, especially in the notices about births, engagements and marriages.
“It was very much the key to keeping communities interested and active and engaged in what was happening in the community,” he said.
That’s something the mayor will miss most – having the ability to engage with the community in just a few pages.
“It brought the community together, it was always great being able to read the very social reports about what was going on in the community, especially in the sporting world,” he said.
Cr McVeigh said standout stories from the Dalby Herald included the coverage of Mary’s Hotel which burned down in 2018.
For the Chinchilla News, Cr McVeigh said the coverage of the Botanic Parklands was a highlight.
Cr McVeigh said he’ll miss seeing having the paper sitting in cafes and on the kitchen
“It’s all about the local paper, the local rag, that people grab on their way through to read about what’s going on in our community,” he said.
“That opportunity will be certainly lost and certainly missed.”