TIME FOR CHANGE: Senior journalist Katrina Condie works on her final issue of the Milton-Ulladulla Times Newspaper.“The last 23 years have been amazing -I don’t think I could feel more connected to a place and its people.”
Ulladulla Times journalist Katrina Condiestruggles to walk down the street without saying hello to almost everyone,and she says that’s a good thing.
Katrina will say goodbye to a career that has spanned 23 years at the Times nextweek.
“My decision to leave the newspaper has not been easy and it will take a long time for me to come to terms with such a massive change,” she said.
“A huge hole will be left in my life that I plan to fill by becoming involved in community events and my kids’ schooland sporting activities.”
Katrina said working as journalist has provided herwith a uniqueopportunity to be involved in the community at a grass roots level and to meet some “incredible and inspiring” people.
“I have been moved to tears by people such as Gayle Dunn who, following the death of her son and his mate in the Bali bombing, has created an amazing community facility for the region’s youth,” she said.
“I have met many families who have lost loved ones and that have afforded me the opportunity to sharetheir personalstories with the community with the hope of helping others –these are the stories you never forget.
“Over the years politicians andcouncillors have come and gone, but all have left their mark on our town and, despite many heated stories and debates, they have all shared with me their genuine passion and love for our community.”
Katrina saidthere have been many significant events in theregion that she hashad the privilege of covering or being involved with, such as helping to kick-startthe Cancer Outpatients Appeal, rallying the town to save the sea poolandinstigating the Highway of Hell campaign.
Her involvement in community campaigns and editorial creativityhavewon Katrina and her news team numerous media awards including the prestigious Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association (PANPA) Newspaper of the Year award in 2004.
“I believe journalists in small towns havean obligation to be advocates for their communities and to fight for what matters to the people in their town,” she said.
“I am proud of the part I have played in promoting local events andtaking a stand for our community.”
But Katrina’s jobhasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“It’s certainly been interesting,” she said.
“You often get yelled at, threatened, phone calls in the middle of the night, but you take the good with the bad and try to do the right thing.
“Sometimes being a journalistcan be really, really hard, but it also very rewarding, especially when your words, your headlinesor your photos stimulate open debate or instigatechange.”
Katrina has thanked the individuals and community groups she has worked alongside over the years.
“Milton-Ulladulla is a unique town in that we have a plethora of festivals and events for local residents and visitors alike, including the Blessing of the Fleet, ArtFest, Scarecrow Festival, Harbourfeast, Relay for Life and many more.
“These would not happen without the hundreds of creative, forward-thinking volunteers and businesspeople that are always working hardbehindthe scenes in our town.
“People come to our area and are always telling me how great it is that we have somuch going on from sporting groups, to the creative arts –and there’s something for everyone, no matter what their age, their interest or their ability.”
After starting out as a cadet journalistwith the Times as a school leaver in 1993,Katrina wasappointed asthe editor in 1996 and then managing editorof the paper in 2003.
In 2005 she took a year off to give birth to herfirst child Sienna and returned to wok part-time as the paper’s senior journalist, before taking another 12 month break following the birth of hersecond daughter Grace in 2008.
She has seen a lot of change in the town, in local business and has embraced the new digital-firstnews system at the Times.
“New technology is giving journalists a much broader reach and a platform to provide the community with up-to-date local news every day,” she said.
“People are debating issues, commenting on stories online and really love the videos,photo galleries and live coverage of events like the Milton Show.”
She wishedthe Times team well and said the future of journalism and local news was exciting.
“I would like to thank everyone that has been part of my Times journey and I hopeIhave had a positive impact on the lives of everyone I have dealt with in my role,” she said.
“I have made many, many friends, learned so much from so many wonderfulpeople, both young and old, and I hope that I have inspired others in some way via my words and photographs.”
Monday, May 16 will be Katrina’s last day at the Times.
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