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Panpa Bulletin : May 2011
The PANPA Bulletin | MAY 2011 | 13 General manager Andrew Boyle says he helped with rescue operations. Safety was the first priority. His staff also knew they had to put a paper out -- it was a given. The 'how' would come later. Colleagues at the APN-owned Star group responded quickly, too. They decided to temporarily focus all their resources on producing a free daily paper, rather than try to roll out their normal bi-weekly and weekly suburban papers. In doing so, it ditched its broadsheet format for a tabloid. "[We said,] the people of Christch- urch need something daily, they need to be informed, they need it free of charge. We need to make life as easy as possible for our people in this city," recalls general manager Steve Mc- Caughan. With its newsroom and print site heavily damaged, Star colleagues de- camped to the home of IT manager Peter Grueber. They used his garage as an initial base, relied on the company's produc- tion facilities on the north island and arranged for the independent newspa- per, the Ashburton Guardian, to be their printer. Back at The Press, the issue of print- ing was less fraught. Its new press centre facility was quake-proof, and so it became the best option for temporary accommo- dation. For the journalists, though, discov- ering the extent of damage to the city was difficult. Phone lines were jammed and they were forced to rely on text messages and email -- semi-reliable options at best. The Press's deputy editor, Coen Lammers, remembers tearing a single notepad into four pieces to share be- tween reporters. The few laptops and cameras that were carried from the crumbling head office in the city centre were now communal property. lding; The New Zealand Defence Forces turn up to help emergency workers and police; park Andrew Holden Editor, The Press "In an earthquake zone, arguably you have hard hats and red jackets available for your staff, but when you're fleeing a building and you don't know whether it's about to collapse, you don't have time to stop and grab the stuff that you should." Coen Lammers Deputy editor, The Press "The trauma people who we had in here immediately recognised that the best support group that we've got is us. Because of the previous evacua- tions we've become such a tight-knit community. We're much more than just a bunch of colleagues. They quite often provide more support than maybe a counsellor could ever give." Olivia Carville Junior reporter, The Press "The support's been great from the newspaper management team and they all said, do you need some time off? Are you okay? They all really care. It's not all about the story in a newsroom -- that's just a myth. It's the people." Kamala Hayman Chief reporter, The Press "I've been trying to work on this idea that through the winter we can give people exchanges with other papers, because Fairfax is such a big group. I know that there is at least one other editor that is happy to do that, which could mean that a reporter comes in here and covers the quake for a week or two and one of our reporters gets a break." Scan the code with your mobile to access in- depth videos on how newspapers managed after the Christchurch earthquake CONTINUED PAGE 14 "The paper gave them the understanding of how bad an earthquake it had been. So print became, pleasing to say, pre-eminent." Andrew Holden Editor, The Press Survivors speak