Nan Berrett was an award-winning senior journalist at Northern Argus until 2012 with a career at the newspaper spanning 23 years.
“I began working at the Northern Argus as a proof reader when the paper was owned by the Tilbrook Family and I became a full-time journalist working under only three editors in more than three decades – Peter Tilbrook, Terry Wilson and David Wright.
In a world before computers I would type my articles onto a borrowed IBM Golfball electric typewriter. The editor who would mark them up with a red pen, picking up my typos and misspellings, as well as adding headlines and marks for the typesetters to follow when retyping my copy in to their huge machines.
All the processing for printing the newspaper was done in house in the Argus office on the corner of Ness Street and Main North Road, Clare and for a while the printing was also done there on a Tuesday afternoon.
The use of computers for creating our work streamlined everything – although they took some getting used to!
Country journalism provides writers with the entire tapestry of news to draw from – ranging from disasters to celebrations, politics and local government.
Journalists don’t tend to specialise in any one type of news, instead they take their own photos and slide smoothly from job to job, interviewing politicians and then popping up to the hospital to see new babies.
Memorable events for me have included covering the Gladstone munitions factory explosion in May 2006 which destroyed the factory with a blast heard up to 70km away, levelling its surroundings, killing three employees and injuring two others.
Being on site and seeing the professionalism of emergency volunteers and other services manage the event was awe-inspiring.
The Northern Argus also reported on the Snowtown ‘bodies in the barrels’ murders – the largest criminal event we had ever seen, and which attracted international coverage.
Because of the media blackout on the case our job was to write about how the tragedy impacted the community.
Stories over the years have included interviewing whistleblowers, victims of domestic violence, local heroes and high achievers, bringing their stories to light and often helping to drive change by lobbying governments both at a local and State level.
Stories I loved writing included interviewing a Hollywood stuntwoman and so many local residents who allowed me to share their stories.
Regional newspapers are the backbones of our communities, providing local news and knowledge, showcasing local heroes and shining a light on opportunities for change.
I congratulate the Northern Argus on its 150 years of service to its readers and am proud to have been a part of its journey.”