When I decided to move back to Oamaru, and back to print journalism, some people told me I was crazy.
At times, I wondered if I was, too.
Small town living may not be for everyone, but, for me, there’s no better life.
Growing up in rural Southland, I used to think that a small town meant a small life. If you were ambitious and had big dreams, your only option was the big cities.
Now, having lived both in small towns and cities, I see things a little differently.
A small town existence can certainly be a powerful one – and the power of our positive, proactive community, who believe Oamaru is the best place to live in New Zealand, is having a huge impact.
More and more people are discovering Oamaru is no ordinary provincial town. It’s got a great range of attractions, some of the country’s best natural beauty, a world-class culinary scene and a fantastic lifestyle.
We’re seeing 20- and 30-somethings who grew up here returning, drawn by the affordable housing and business opportunities, great schools, amazing recreational pursuits, low congestion, a dynamic business community and the sense of living in an area on the brink of change.
It’s so good to be back.
Of course, the other reason why my move raised eyebrows is because print journalism is doing it tough.
In this digital age, there’s no denying that, but I believe local news has more than turned the corner.
There’s no shortage of news sources these days, especially with the rise of social media, but I believe newspapers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to their communities, with a solid online and social media strategy, will remain viable for a long time.
In the case of local news, social media doesn’t have to be diminishing – in fact, it can be additive.
People are more deeply connected through social media – and that only enhances their appetite to be informed about their local community.
I’m excited to take over as editor of the Oamaru Mail, and North Otago bureau chief for the Otago Daily Times, leading a great team in a community that is invested in local news and, most importantly, has so many stories worth writing about.
I’m buzzing with new ideas for the paper, but you’ll find out about those in later editions.
All in good time.
Do let me know what you think of them – and if there’s anything new you’d like to see.
Come into the office, pick up the phone, email or Facebook us.
Tell us about the things that excite you, the issues that worry you and the successes we need to celebrate.