I'm just back in Mount Isa after a whistle-stop trip to Sydney.
I went to Emerald City for the annual News Media awards because the North West Star had made as a finalist in the "community newspaper of the year" category.
I flew from Mount Isa to Brisbane Monday afternoon and then on to Sydney Tuesday morning.
After enjoying a quick walk around the harbour, I went to the event which was held in the Ivy Ballroom in the centre of the city.
It was a grand gala occasion filled with people from newspapers across Australia.
Two of the Chaser comedy crew, Craig Reucassel and Andrew Hansen, were hosts of the night. They reminded the audience of their own newspaper with "The Chaser" published fortnightly from 1999 to 2005.
Indeed their newspaper preceded their television fame though like many print publications it struggled to make money and was wound up after six years.
As you might expect Reucassel and Hansen treated the whole proceedings with a bit of irreverence and humour.
But there was plenty of serious business to attend to with awards covering individual journalism, photography, advertising and publishing houses.
We had to wait until the end of the night before the winners in the newspaper of the year categories (community, regional and national) were announced.
In our regional newspaper of the year category, the North West Star was up against five others, a fellow Australian Community Newspapers publication, the Senior (aimed at senior Australians), and News Corp titles The City (Adelaide), The Manly Daily (NSW), The Gympie Times (Qld) and the Northern District Times (Sydney).
The award went to the Adelaide community paper The City but I was immensely proud to represent the North West Star and our part of Queensland on the national stage,
My congratulations to The City and the other major winners The Herald Sun (national) and the Hobart Mercury (regional) and indeed to all the newspapers and staff who won awards or who were nominated.
Our industry has gone through tough times but there are still plenty of people doing great work to keep it alive across Australia. Derek Barry