I’m writing this column from the lovely surrounds of the State Library of Queensland by the banks of the Brisbane River.
I’m supposed to be doing research but inevitably my thoughts are dragged back to Mount Isa and how the paper is going in my absence for a long weekend.
I need not be too worried, my small team in the Isa office are doing a wonderful job to bring the news to our readers, despite neither being in the hot seat for very long.
Melissa North joined us when Samantha Walton went on maternity leave and has done a wonderful job in a short time.
Melissa is a children’s book author but has had limited exposure to the world of journalism.
Yet she has taken to her new role like a duck to water and was invaluable help especially during the four weeks where it was just her and me in the team.
Talk about being thrown at the deep end, Melissa certainly was but is now swimming confidently in the sometimes choppy waters of news in the North West.
We are now back to a team of three because we now have Lydia Lynch with us.
Lydia joined us after spending a year at our sister paper in the Northern Territory, the Katherine Times.
I have admired Lydia’s work at the KT for some time so when she said she was keen on taking the Mount Isa job I was frankly delighted.
Already in the short two weeks here she has shown her flair for news reporting especially talented in the field of video and liver reportage.
And there has been a lot to report on in the last week or so. Firstly we had the big wet when months of drought ended spectacularly with some challenging weather conditions around the region.
Lydia and Melissa both excelled to tell the human stories behind those weather conditions.
Then on Tuesday we had the Queen’s Baton relay. It wasn’t easy but the North West Star followed the entire legs of the relay in Cloncurry and Mount Isa, our journalists sometimes getting soaked to the skin in the process.
But the coverage was warmly received by readers who have lapped up our work with hundreds of thousands website visits – Derek Barry