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Panpa Bulletin : August 2011
After TV-types go home, local papers support disaster victims THE cameras, lights and wardrobe department left long ago, unlikely to be seen until the next disaster sum- mons TV types from their capital city studios. It is a little more than six months since Cyclone Yasi devastated a vast stretch of the North Queensland coast, and communities are still re- building. Amid the stress caused by this painful process, regional and com- munity newspapers continue to help locals repair shattered lives, fighting for better support from authorities. “When it doesn’t seem like a sexy story anymore, we’re still there,” says Michael Wilkins, general manager of North Queensland Newspapers (NQN). “Our responsibility in times like this is to continue to support the community, continue to maintain that presence, maintain pressure on authority to meet the needs of the residents who are still hurting.” NQN publishes nine regional and local titles stretching from Bowen near the Whitsundays, through Townsville, and north to Innisfail. Each has been instrumental in help- ing to brighten the lives of families in some of the hardest-hit areas. Mr Wilkins continues: “We’ve run a series of schemes including a program between the Herbert River Express in Ingham and the Innisfail Advocate to deliver sporting equip- ment to schools and community groups affected by the cyclone and the floods. “We also combined with our sister title, the Cairns Post, and pitched in A$125,000 each to give to more than 100 schools and sporting groups up and down the coast to replace lost equipment.” Some families still live in make- shift accommodation. Yet it is the community newspapers which provide the residents with a sense of solace, belonging and the emotional support so desperately needed in times of crisis. NQN teamed up with former Aus- tralian cricketer Matthew Hayden’s charity Operation Sunshine, to help the families who are struggling the most. “He delivered JetStar flights and we combined to fund holidays around Australia for 100 of the hardest-hit families,” explains Mr Wilkins. The group’s flagship masthead, the Townsville Bulletin, has also hosted a fundraising dinner which generated A$40,000 in donations, staged a cyclone-relief rock concert and organised a special event for kids from nearby Cardwell. “We brought 120 kids from the Cardwell Primary School and their parents to Townsville for the V8 Supercars race, where they met the race drivers, watched the racing and visited the city. It really was a great day out for those kids.” “We haven’t relinquished the re- sponsibility for reporting on how the people are faring. “We’ve tried to keep pressure on the state and federal government, the reconstruction authority and the insurance companies to continue to pay attention to people who are struggling,” says Mr Wilkins. North of Townsville, the small community of Tully copped the worst of the cyclone. Ninety percent of the buildings were severely damaged by Yasi. The independently-owned Tully Times has been one of the key outlets for support for the residents. Call Margret for ideas Phone: 07 5553 3200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org RIDDLED!” What am I? In the carpet with the spring See my white sphere shimmering. Search me for my magic for You would want it, I am sure! Answer: clover puzzle pages Freecall 180 email@example.com www.a uspacmedia.com.au I NCREASEC I RCULAT I ON! puzzle pages PRINTREADY www.panpa.org.au communities never give up 10 | AUGUST 2011 | The PANPA Bulletin Former cricketer Matthew Hayden congratulates the Dorries family, who received a holiday to the Gold Coast. Mr Hayden handed out a total of A$70,000 in cheques to junior sporting and school groups to replace equipment lost in Cyclone Yasi, courtesy of The Townsville Bulletin, Herbert River Express, Innisfail Advocate and Cairns Post. Trevor Allen NPA Straits Times iPad launched THE flagship for Singapore Press Hold- ings, the Straits Times, has launched apps for the iPad and iPhone. The daily edition of the apps can be viewed free of charge until September 8. Readers have had to pay to read the Straits Times on the web for several years. Editor of the Straits Times, Han Fook Kwang, said in a statement: “We want more people to be able to access the rich content in the Straits Times on their iPhone and iPad. “We promise to deliver it with the same commitment to quality and cred- ibility that has made our paper the most widely-read in Singapore.” Editor-in-chief of SPH’s English and Malay newspapers division, Patrick Dan- iel, said the pricing package – to be de- termined after the trial period expires – is a “major step forward” for the company. The app features three versions of each day’s Straits Times: a standard iPad edi- tion; a PDF download for offline viewing; and a dedicated ‘Breaking News’ section. It contains ST’s news coverage, news updates, commentaries and analysis, as well as video content from ST Razor TV.