• Loddon Herald

Milestone for your voice

IN THE middle of Lockdown 5.0, there are signs across the Loddon of resilience, hope and even dreams, dreams of soon being back together as communities weaving a strengthened social fabric.

The importance of community has perhaps never been more valued as in the past 18 months - appreciation for what we have in the region and what can be achieved in the future.

Six months ago this week, the Loddon Herald hit the streets with edition No 1.

Since then, in navigating three lockdowns and experiencing the additional challenges faced by all our local businesses, we have shared more than 1000 stories.

Those stories have ranged from the little local news items to bigger stories in the community.

The Loddon Herald, we hope, is providing a platform for local people, organisations and communities in bringing to notice and attention local needs and wants.

We have seen issues ranging from retention of Catto Lodge at Melville Caves and the child care crisis in all communities to the visions for the future ... if only key services were connected.

That we have published so many stories is testament to the enthusiasm of local people in letting us know what’s happening in town.

Unlike social media where a post is here one second and gone (or forgotten) the next, this local newspaper is a weekly chronicle of what’s happened and will happen. In a sense, we are writing tomorrow’s history today.

We are, also, unashamedly, an old-style newspaper. We like to publish the big stories and the little ones too.

As one avid reader remarked only at the weekend as he sat on his verandah, watching as locals were out for their two hours of exercise or shopping for essentials, there is a new-found interest in what’s happening in all towns across the Loddon.

Of course, the content is only as good as you the reader provides through news, tips, story ideas and sporting results.

Meeting the weekly deadline before hitting the button to the printing press in far away Wodonga is the innate adrenalin of newspaper life.

And each week, there are always a couple of stories held over, such is the depth of the yarns waiting to be told.

The Loddon Herald is also proudly a free newspaper, a business model that requires advertising for sustainability and survival.

As we have reported before, more than 75 per cent of country people want their newspapers in printed form - again, what’s in the paper is not a fleeting vision to the eye, rather it’s there all week promoting local businesses and their goods and services.

An important role of newspapers is to mirror the community. We hope in our first six months that the Loddon Herald is doing that. If the mirror needs more shining, let us know your stories.

Being born in the middle of a pandemic, and celebrating six months during another lockdown, we appreciate the importance of keeping the news coming and allowing you a platform that again gives voice to the rural communities across the Loddon, local people sharing our commitment for the future.

Thanks for your support in the first six months ... may we continue the journey continue with optimism.

Chris Earl is managing editor of the Loddon Herald

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