IF you're a Port News subscriber, you might have noticed these past few weeks that some of our stories are longer and "meatier".
That's not just us giving you value for money (which is a given!).
Often it is because an interviewee's personal story is just too good to tell in a standard 150-300 words. But largely it is because we are tackling more complex issues that require multiple voices, context and background.
This is how journalism differs from other forms of public communication. By taking the time to examine an issue, idea or achievement, a fully-rounded picture emerges that not only makes for interesting reading, but also informative, fact-based reading. It's true storytelling with a public benefit.
Senior Reporter Liz Langdale's story this week about the importance of Town Green to the Birpai people is a classic example.
Liz explained why many are upset by the statue of Edmund Barton, Australia's first Prime Minister, which currently overlooks the area.
Before anyone mutters "cancel culture", or "why has this come up again?", have a read.
This is a multi-layered discussion that taught me three things I didn't know; that Barton was the architect of the White Australia policy (apologies to my high school history teachers for not listening) and that Aboriginal remains were uncovered on Town Green in 1995.
No wonder there are those who believe the two cannot co-exist.
The third thing I discovered is the meaning of the Birpai sculpture, Zoetrope, in Wauchope.
While Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is reticent to re-open discussion about the Barton statue, it seems it has entertained the removal of this structure for reasons that include the obstruction of residents' river views.
When Liz started explaining this, I decided to find out more about Zoetropes in general. I discovered they were 19th Century circular drums that, when spun, gave the appearance of animation.
Armed with this knowledge, I saw the structure in a different light. I imagined how the sun would cast a shadow through its iron cut-outs (likely designed for that specific location) and how a spinning of that drum would tell its intended story of reconciliation.
I would never had understood all this if the story was delivered as a social post. Yet complex community issues are often debated in the world of likes and happy or angry faces.
Globally, long-form is back. We see it in podcasts, digital mini-documentaries, photo essays and true crime serials. People are craving a deeper experience and that applies to journalism too.
Of course we balance that with breaking news and court and crime alerts but whenever we can, we'll take a deep dive and hope that you learn something new, just as I did.
Editor, North Coast ACM (Port Macquarie News)
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