John Thistleton remembers his time as Goulburn Post editor | Goulburn Post

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I worked for 24 of the 150 years of the Goulburn Post as a reporter, editor and managing editor. My predecessor Ray Leeson worked there for 47 years, including an astonishing 36 as editor. Contemplating retirement in 1988 troubled him. A safe pair of hands for all those years, now he had to let go. The night before the paper’s manager was to reveal the changeover, Ray and his wife Pat called at our home to surprise me and my wife Franki with the news. His predecessor, Marmion Dart, who had worked at The Post for 25 years, had done the same thing all those years earlier. I was lucky. I had experienced staff and had learned from previous colleagues on my arrival in 1980, including John Avery, Peter Brown and Ian Frazer. I began as editor alongside veteran radio broadcaster Ray Williams, Maryann Weston, who later became an editor when The Post was a community-centred tri-weekly. Canadian Charles Thurston gave us a point of difference with a creative flair. ALSO READ: Leon Oberg’s Goulburn Post career covers large slice of history Long-serving photographer Leon Oberg switched to editing Town and Country Magazine, and continued his outstanding photography, especially if a train was involved. Darryl Fernance, a former contributing photographer, joined us and became long-serving and multi-skilled as the paper evolved. In later years Louise Thrower arrived, became a tenacious reporter and continues to excel. Reporter David Cole connected strongly with the arts community as did Chris Gordon in sport and the arts. Indeed, many exceptional people have served The Post in their fields. Production manager Kevin Tozer and pre-press staff Danny Eldridge and Chris Ottaway and typesetter Jenny Sullivan were the backbone of our team. Out of the blue a letter arrived from a Russian artist who asked me for a job. She was the highly creative Ekaterina Mortensen, who continues enthralling audiences with her art. ALSO READ: Goulburn’s Maryann Weston looks back on her Post editing days Our front officer staffers Sue Clements and Helen Evans grew to know news intimately, tipping me off with important classified advertising notices, and warning me of hostile readers storming up the stairs to vent their anger. Sales manager Helen Esson, who later became the paper’s manager, and Greg O’Keeffe were invaluable for beating their advertising revenue targets which paid our way. The Post struck up a partnership with Goulburn Rostrum to host debates on the eve of local government, state and federal elections. This stemmed from my enduring friendship with dentist Brian Keating. His extraordinary background had parallels with Leeson’s during World War Two. Flying Lancaster bombers, Keating narrowly escaped death on a mission over Germany in January, 1945. A wireless operator/air gunner, Leeson survived a crash in a snow storm, which killed the five other crewmen of his Wellington bomber. ALSO READ: Editor and ‘fierce defender of rights’ mentored Miles Franklin After the war, the two men were prominent in the 1962 Catholic schools strike in Goulburn. Keating was one of the instigators, and Leeson was about the only reporter in the country to record it accurately. The Australian Government has been contributing money to Catholic schools ever since. Planes fell from the skies above Goulburn too during my time, trains left their rails and coaches careered off the highway, causing multiple fatalities. A Turkish restaurant exploded in the main street. Covering the aftermath in coroner’s hearings and compensation cases in the District Court, and hearing from solicitors and barristers in all the courts added to my preparations for the editor’s role. READ MORE GOULBURN POST HISTORY STORIES HERE The Goulburn Post put a heated pool on the community’s agenda, after a suggestion from my GP, Dr Bruce Gerard. I wrote an editorial on why a heated pool would benefit the health of our community. To help raise money for the project The Post re-launched the annual sports awards, hired Australian netballer Anne Sargeant as guest speaker and donated $10,000. We never stopped lobbying until the $1 million project was completed. I left The Post to join The Canberra Times in 2004. About a month later Singapore Airlines which was lobbying for freedom of the skies out of Australia, flew me business class to and from Paris and Toulouse for the launch of the A380 aircraft. Returning home, looking down over the Swiss Alps, I thanked my lucky stars for the opportunities and excitement newspapers offered. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here

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Daughter of Belarusian News Editor Detained in Raid on Home

An editor with Belarus’s independent news organization said her home was raided on Tuesday, September 8, with her daughter detained in relation to her alleged participation in the ongoing anti-government protests. Galina Ulasik said the raid targeted her daughter only. “The questions were only about my daughter,” said Ulasik. She told reporters that a number of pieces of equipment, including a laptop, were taken by investigators. A number of reporters responded to the scene after the news broke of the raid. Video footage shows masked individuals leaving the apartment with a number of items, before departing in a car. Videos also showed a lawyer attempting to gain access to the apartment during the raid. Credit: via Storyful

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Letters to the Editor – Tasmanian Times

For sale

If the major political parties had the slightest moral fortitude, they would release the names of those who contribute to their cause, at least that way we would all know who was paying the piper. After all there is no such thing as a free donation!

– Dr Ian Broinowski, Battery Point

Talking Rubbish

Together with roadkill, comments about the extent of rubbish on Tasmania’s highways and byways are a frequent criticism made by tourists, yet our roads continue to be guilty on both counts. Our scorecard both for both roadkill and litter is depressingly high, and it does our state no credit.
As well as being unsightly, the careless and thoughtless habit of tossing drink bottles, cans, cigarette butts, sundry bits of plastic, and takeaway food containers onto the verges creates a serious environmental and public health hazard. Surely nobody these days is unaware of the pollution from plastic that’s poisoning our waterways and oceans, and the terrible impacts it has on marine and aquatic life who ingest this plastic waste. Ultimately it also poses a serious health risk for us. Our land is also being poisoned from discarded rubbish leaching toxins and poisons into the soil, some of which can take many decades to fully decompose. Our food is being grown in this soil.
A psychologist is better placed than I am to explain why some people feel it’s acceptable to toss out their rubbish on the roadsides as they drive by, but with spring around the corner, and with thoughts turning towards spring cleaning, a reminder to us all to take a moment, and be a little more aware of our stunningly lovely island, and ensure the roadsides and pathways are also clear and free of litter. Regardless of who was responsible for dropping it.
Many more of us are walking, cycling and exploring our neighbourhoods in these strange COVID days. How much nicer it is when we don’t have to navigate a carelessly abandoned coffee cup, a half-empty juice bottle, or worse.
We can all help to lead the way by having cleaned up roadsides that are free of rubbish.

– Anne Layton-Bennett, Swan Bay


The government’s final version of the Major Projects legislation reveals that they are hell bent on using the legislation on the Westbury prison if the standard planning process does not go their way. How many lies we will have to put up with on the path to pushing this prison far, far away from our small historic town to an appropriate location in an urban area, where there are all the proper resources inmates and correctional staff deserve?
The Premier himself promised us in person that the Major Projects legislation was not aimed at the prison. But one of the assessment criteria for a major project in the final draft of the Bill is whether a project’s activities are of interest to or for the benefit of a wider sector of the public than resides in its municipal area.
We know that having a prison in Westbury is of interest to people who reside outside the Meander Valley municipality, such as the Liberal government and in particular Minister Archer. It is clear that this final version of the Bill is targeted at the Westbury prison. This was not in the consultation draft circulated earlier this year. It has been inserted late, without notice and without any opportunity for anyone to comment.
It’s there to either scare us witless or to be used against us, or both. This is how it goes with this government: if they can’t win playing by the rules, they change the rules while trying to beat you into silence or submission.
WRAP calls on the Labor Party to oppose the Major Projects legislation. Based on our experience to date, you would not trust the Liberal Party as far as you could kick them, and this Bill gives them much more ammunition to use against Tasmanians.

– Linda Poulton, President WRAP Inc , Westbury  

Counting Correctional Costs

One wonders why this money ($270 million prison budget) is not spent on the cause, stopping crime escalating, rather than something that punishes, so a prison is not required? Projects that can be desirable for those convicted of lesser crimes in house arrest? If required, more police for the initial cost of $270 million and paying their wages with what would otherwise be prison running costs and maintenance.
I am not certain that the [quote] Archer said the project was necessary “to address the challenges facing the state’s correctional system.” [end quote] in your article was fully addressed or at all, in the ‘Final Report’?
Then there are job claims. These are often made by governments and companies that are going to destroy something of environmental importance, with something that will not actually deliver what they suggest. Such inaccuracies they can explain away later, and if accepted or not, is of no consequence when the project is a fait accompli.
There is a question as to why locate it where it will destroy an environment of which there is so little left? Remember that approximately 20,000 hectares of residential land and forest was destroyed in the 2020 fires. There are alternative land options.
It would appear the cost of this prison will be far greater than $270 million, if such a natural area is to be destroyed for a facility that is purely for punishment, regardless of any real or imagined good it might do.

– Charlie Schroeder, East Gippsland (VIC)

It’s a kind of madness…

I’m not surprised STT haven’t gained FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and it’s my opinion that the industry should be plantation-based only, then they would gain FSC which would open up new markets and then be sustainable with long term jobs, giving workers more certainty in the future. Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
FT or STT lose millions of our tax dollars every year and they need to change their practices. Albie gets it!

– Andrew MJ, Maydena

diversifying paper products

Having seen an article on abc news this morning about the Boyer paper mill struggling to survive, I sought to write to them but there isn’t an email contact section on the Norske site.
I saw large rolls of paper being conveyed around and immediately thought of our sewing machine embroidery exploits which many people worldwide are engaged in. We use products such as ‘tearaway, cutaway and washaway stabilisers’ which I recently realised were made in China or the US. You will appreciate that some businesses have been forced to diversify in order to save their livelihoods in these unprecedented times, and think more businesses need to manufacture at home in Australia rather than import the vast amount of products we utilise daily.
Since pulp is turned into paper for print, please suggest to all paper mills that they diversify and start producing products for our hobbies and businesses which we can source locally rather than abroad. I’m sure any sewing shop in the country will be willing to describe the products I have mentioned above and quality required.

– Ada Clarke, Gosnells (WA)

Editor’s note: Ada last visited Tasmania in 1983, and remembers us fondly. She said she had a wonderful time touring ‘a lovely little state’ and enjoyed a picnic at Perth before flying out to Melbourne.

It’s all wrong

Tasmanian place names are terrible. Most of them are stolen from Britain and Ireland anyway, and heaps are just plain wrong.
Take Queenstown for example. Has the queen ever been there? It should just be Town. Not very interesting, but at least straightforwardly descriptive in the classic Tasmanian manner of Southport, Mountain River, Chain of Lagoons, Main Road, Dismal Swamp and so on.
Then there’s Sorell. It’s about 264km from Port Sorell, so whoever did that was obviously having a weird little joke.
Lachlan Macquarie was some big shot and immodestly went around naming stuff after himself like the Macquarie River, and Elizabeth Town after his wife. If you think the Sorell joke is a road trip too far, try taking a lazy swim from Macquarie Harbour out through Macquarie Heads and on to Macquarie Island.
Some names are just deadset traps. Plenty. Plenty of what? Given that there is absolutely nothing there, I’ve had to come up with some alternative suggestions: take your pick of Skerrick, Tittle, Wee, Blip or Soupçon. Looking sideways at you too, Lottah.
Consistency is also an issue so I’m going to fix it. Arm yourself with one of the Premier’s new $100 gadabout vouchers and take a swing through Lawitta and Latrobe, finishing up at La-unceston.
I reckon some names can be salvaged though. Just a few letters can convert Pontville to Pontingville and let’s face it barely anyone will notice as they whizz by but we will have saluted the little legend.
And in honour of a pretty crap 2020, I’m going to propose renaming Binalong Bay to Binalong Year. By heck it has been.

– Harry Bryant, Launceston

COVID control

All governments love to be seen as proactive, working to further a cause especially if that cause makes a contribution to keeping their paws on the reins of power as they push a positive position to a worldly wise and increasingly suspicious and internet informed public. They pose and posture day after day, pushing facts and figures, getting as much political exposure to a gullible public as possible, all done in a totally controlled and staged setting in an effort to impress with an image of substance and ability.
Six months have come and gone, and the natives are getting restless as the real, unaddressed problems of an uncontrollable pandemic are rapidly becoming apparent.
Mr Premier what steps have been taken to protect those on the real battle ground, our nursing homes, aged care facilities, and the front-line health workers in our hospitals? You have had six months to plan your campaign. The required huge investment in ICU’s, the setting up of a ring of fire around our aged care facilities making them safe havens for those residents who depend on the care of others.
The opposition should ask the Gutwein government to provide the real figures for the increase in the number of ICU’s in this state from 30 March to the present. Hospital directors should be forced to make a statutory declaration over these numbers, the figures supplied by our pollies will prove unreliable. Tasmanians must be allowed to get on with their lives and wear the consequences.
The government should adopt a new slogan: This virus cannot be contained.

– John Hawkins, Chudleigh

Letters are welcome on any Tasmanian subject, up to 250 words. Letters should be concise, respectful of others and rely on evidence where necessary. No links please! Letter writers should provide a real name and town / suburb. Submit letters in the body of an email to

Comments are turned off on this post…send us a letter!

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Nine’s jump to the right leaves an editor on the outer and journalism poorer

The departure of The Age editor Alex Lavelle, factors to a deeper cultural shift at the newspaper and in Australian media general.

(Picture: AAP/Mal Fairclough)

The resignation of The Age editor Alex Lavelle yesterday rips yet another layer off the rising crisis in just Nine’s mastheads driven by a perception that the 18-month-outdated new administration is hurrying the metro papers to the appropriate.

The company’s mastheads now look positioned like The Australian about 20 years back: heaps of fantastic journalism boxed in by an more and more pre-set editorial line. The Australian currently displays the place that journey finishes — with the journalism overcome by society wars and celebration political imperatives.

As constantly when editors go away from a single of the country’s great papers like The Age, there’s a very simple dilemma: jumped or pushed? Both way, Lavelle’s departure and the quick 15-moment explanation provided from the (at present WFH virtual) newsroom by Lavelle’s Sydney-centered manager, James Chessell, has to be examine in context.

That context? A letter to Nine management signed by about 70 Age journalists revealing deep inner fears about “politicisation” of the masthead, a failure to replicate variety and issues about the paper getting a Sydney subsidiary.

There are a several straws in the wind. On the society wars front, The Age’s the latest “no slavery, here” editorial kicked off the push by the appropriate to de-legit the protests versus systemic racism, launching supporting reviews from the key minister. The Age has given that apologised and Morrison has “if anybody is offended” fake-pologised.

About on the political entrance, equally The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have joined the AFR in the Liberal Party’s very long marketing campaign towards industry tremendous.

This shift problems that “Independent. Always” slogan the merged enterprise inherited. It was that rare little bit of corporate-speak that captured the two the electricity of the editorial mission and its significance to the business product.

Unsurprisingly, it is what most news customers want, most not long ago confirmed in the 2020 Electronic News Report introduced on Tuesday (in which it was expressed as “impartial”). Internal Nine study is understood to exhibit the similar detail.

Nine’s critics are primed to be sceptical, primarily based on early facts factors: the firm is chaired by previous Liberal Party treasurer Peter Costello. Its CEO Hugh Marks hosted Scott Morrison at a $10,000 a head Liberal Occasion fundraiser on company premises previous yr. Chessell — the mastheads’ govt editor, who sets the editorial line —  is a former staffer of an additional Liberal treasurer, now Sky News US contributor Joe Hockey.

Of system, there is a extended record of fantastic journalists rotating by team work opportunities and political reporting, together with greats like Kerry O’Brien and Alan Ramsay. The working experience can give a deep comprehending of how politics performs on the inside. Niki Savva at The Australian carries on to reveal how her insider practical experience provides her reporting a nuance that other reporters lack.

But, within the company, journalists really feel that some thing is transforming. The new management is a lot much more palms on, intervening in stories and earning choices about placement that appears to encourage a predetermined narrative. Tendered in proof: the unsubstantiated June 5 front page “Activists ‘planning trouble’ at protest” (corrected with an apology on line later that working day).

The shock and unhappiness of Age journalists to Lavelle’s departure goes past the typical regret, describing him as a form, mild editor who acted with integrity and had a solid moral compass when it arrived to news conclusions.

“I’m incredibly sad tonight. The Age editor Alex Lavelle to exit,” point out political editor Noel Towell said on Twitter.

“Thoroughly good guy. Labored tirelessly for the masthead. Extremely unhappy to see him go,” mentioned tablet editor and previous editor of The Sunday Age Duska Sulicich.

“A first rate, variety and collaborative editor. Will be missed,” atmosphere reporter and senior journalist Miki Perkins reported.

“Alex Lavelle is a person of the very best gentlemen I have acknowledged. A man with a moral compass, with compassion and integrity. You will need to dig further to understand why he is gone,” previous reporter Leonie Wood wrote on Twitter.

As newsroom leaders, editors have normally experienced to engage in two frequently incompatible roles: their journalists want to be led by another person who fights on their behalf CEOs count on a line supervisor who follows the firm line, and will get the staff to abide by on guiding.

It’s now very clear that the Liberal Party alignment of senior supervisors is taking this rigidity to breaking position.

Peter Fray

For a constrained time only, select what you fork out for a yr of Crikey.

Conserve up to 50% on a year of Crikey, or, dig deeper so that we can dig deeper.

Crikey might be small but our intention has constantly been to aim on the why, not the what of public existence — to explain how electricity is utilized and abused in Australia, and the units and people who aid it.

But to do that efficiently, we require subscribers. Loads of them.

Be a part of Crikey now, and for the first time ever, pick what you pay.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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Leading Russian Paper Vedomosti’s New Editor Bans Putin Criticism, Independent Poll Coverage

The new chief editor of Russia’s leading business newspaper Vedomosti has banned employees from publishing articles that criticize President Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional changes, the paper’s media editor said Wednesday in the latest report of recent censorship at the publication.

Andrei Shmarov, who was named acting editor-in-chief by Vedomosti’s new owners in March, made news earlier this month for deleting a column critical of state-controlled oil giant Rosneft’s head, Igor Sechin. 

Shmarov has now threatened to fire staffers if they write pieces critical of the constitutional amendments that could allow Putin to remain president until 2036, Vedomosti’s media editor Kseniya Boletskaya wrote on Facebook.

The new chief editor also banned articles that cite surveys from Russia’s last remaining independent polling agency, the Levada Center, Boletskaya wrote, claiming that the orders came from the Kremlin. 

“Shmarov says that the presidential administration doesn’t want to see Levada surveys in Vedomosti and if the paper wants to survive, it should listen to the presidential administration,” Boletskaya said.

Vedomosti, a longtime partner of the Levada Center, often gets first access to the pollster’s latest studies.

“He’s already tried to talk Vedomosti journalists out of using Levada,” she wrote. “Now it’s a direct ban. And strictly verbal.”

Shmarov previously founded the Kremlin-linked Expert magazine and served as CEO of the Snob news website and editor-in-chief of the Project 42 educational portal. His hiring sparked backlash within Vedomosti’s ranks, and several of its editors have called on the owners to appoint a different chief editor.  

Derk Sauer, Vedomosti’s founder and the publisher of The Moscow Times, has expressed concern about the independent paper’s sale to publisher Konstantin Zyatkov and businessman Alexei Golubovich, which led to Shmarov’s hiring. 

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