The Morning Bulletin running through the APN Printing press at Hempenstal Street, Rockhampton. Photo: Chris Ison
The Morning Bulletin running through the APN Printing press at Hempenstal Street, Rockhampton. Photo: Chris Ison

COLUMN: End of Bully in print is bitter blow to local voices

May 28. My birthday and the day The Morning Bulletin learned its twisted fate. A bittersweet day indeed.

I feel like I have been in a constant state of mourning this year and it feels like it is never ending.

Now before the nit-pickers jump on me and twist my words, I understand companies are in survival mode and trying to take care of their costs.

But I do not agree with this ­decision in the slightest.

I am tired of ivory tower dwellers far away from our regional reality deciding on what we are destined for.

I am tired of people with warped visions being in charge of the paintbrush that paints our bigger picture.

I am gravely disappointed in those who are quick to disregard all that our paper has stood for and its active involvement in our community for over 150 years.

We are shifting into the digital game. The future seems to be upon us now, however, I refuse to accept this as our future. The printed paper is one thing that should remain untouched by technology.

Digital doesn’t support regional communities like print. This damaging decision has been made by higher powers who, with a nonchalant flick of a ruthless wrist, wiped out 150 years of The Morning Bulletin history and all it has brought our community. TMB may still be available online, however, it will never be the same.

Digital may fit the dynamic for the big cities but it does not make for a comfortable fit in the lives of those who are not city-dwellers. It is deeply upsetting to feel it is a constant battle of us, (good, honest, hard-working people across regional Australia), against the corporate world.

I am heartbroken for the members of my local community who have lost a major piece of their lifestyle as the hardcopy paper breathes its last breath. I am devastated and outraged that our newsagencies are going to face such a monumental loss through the termination of our printed copies.

I have watched this community endure some heart-wrenching events over the years. I have felt the pain of people from various corners of the community who have suffered one too many setbacks. I have watched my own father, who has worked in advertising for nearly seven years, pouring every fibre of his being into serving his community only to have it all ripped away as if it meant nothing.

More people out of jobs; yet another heartache our region is forced to suffer through. Yes, it’s a business decision. Yes, they are entitled to make it but just because they can, doesn’t mean it is right.

On the topic of entitlement, as a region we are entitled to preserve our voice. As a region we are entitled to run an independent paper to honour our generations of hardcopy paper-readers, to support our businesses that thrive off of paper sales, and as a region we deserve the chance to stand on our own two (more than capable) feet to share our stories, and communicate crucial events that directly impact the people across our local area.

There seems to be a shocking shift in attitude. It seems to be acceptable to deprive regional areas of their crucial point of communication as we move yet another underestimated luxury into the online world. This move deprives some of our most loyal customers and readers from easy availability to regional stories, many people who do not have access to digital devices. Yet, cities continue to obtain the power of choice with both print and digital available; we have had that choice taken away from us.

I watched my father come home on May 28 a broken man.

I feel so devastated for The Morning Bulletin family. Even though I have never been an official employee of TMB, my “Tuesdays with Jordie” opinion columns would never have been possible without the endless support of my TMB family over the past four and a half years. I feel the pain of my paper family and I feel the pain of my community. I also feel that out of unwavering respect for the hard-working (and overwhelmingly honourable) members of this family forced to walk away during recent events, with the heaviest heart I will walk away with them at the end of June.

My thoughts are with this community for what’s happened and I send my warmest wishes to any businesses once again being forced to pick up the pieces from this broken system. Through the good and the bad, our print has branched far beyond words on a page. Our printed paper is our personal podium. Our podium has been taken away. Our valuable voice taken with it.

It needs to be heard.

It deserves to be heard.

We deserve to be heard.

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