We're 145 not out

THE Times, they are a'changing...

Not grammatically correct in this case, but apt for today's newspapers in general.

The Manning River Times marks 145 years today (January 8) and there have been vast changes over that period.

But that change has made giant leaps in the last 20 years, and the pace is increasing.

Newspapers no longer think of themselves as a single product. We are multi-platform, ie available in print, online, via your phone or tablet and via Facebook and Twitter.

Check out photos galore from behind the scenes and a terrific video, too

Now editor, I began as a cadet at the Manning River Times in 1976.

I had just missed the "hot metal" days and "bromide" was the new format, not that that concerned a cadet too much.

The newsroom was dominated by typewriters and photographers printed their own photos from rolls of film in the Times darkroom, all black and white. We typed our stories on copy paper, the first paragraph on one piece of paper because it needed to be set in a larger font by the typesetters for the compositor to place on the page before the proof reader would check it.

Typesetters, compositors and proof readers no longer exist.

The arrival of computer technology has seen the news team assume more and more of these roles, until today when we are responsible for getting the finished pages to the press (so please forgive the mistakes).

But from my first day at the Times, the focus has not changed. Our focus is local news - we are parochial and unapologetic about that.

And today we have several new ways to deliver that news.

Our online presence allows us to deliver breaking news. Floods and bushfires are always big news in the Manning and through our web page we can provide almost immediate updates on such serious events. Feedback tells us that our coverage helps.

Online we can also deliver more in-depth news, photo galleries and video of news and events around the Manning. And it gives us a broader audience - news from the Manning is reaching the world.

Our community is important to us and we would like to think we are close to our community.

We certainly appreciate feedback, positive or not so positive and our door is always open.

Some speculate that newspapers are a dying breed but community newspapers like the Times still have a very relevant role to play and will continue, in print, for many years to come.

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