As we near the end of the financial year it is particularly gratifying to note that we are still in business, that The Courier still comes out twice a week in print and online.

Like so many businesses we have experienced unprecedented (there’s that word again) upheaval with COVID-19.

The most immediate impact on our business has been the withdrawal of advertising en masse, as local stores and entertainment venues closed and customer numbers were dramatically reduced.

This has had a huge impact on The Courier because, as most people know, the income from advertising is what pays the bills. Even businesses which were established in 1946 after the War, and hadn’t missed a week since, withdrew their advertising. As well as the financial impact, the cancellation of all sporting events, club activities and community socialisation left a huge gap in content.

However, we found actual paper sales did not decline, and in fact, subscriptions increased.

You, our loyal readers made sure you did not miss out on your paper.

And for your support we are truly grateful.

It has not been the same for many other local papers, some have stopped printing altogether and others have been suspended.

Suspension of printing has never been an option for The Courier.

Many of the discontinued mastheads are owned by big corporations – some 112 NewsCorp non-dailies and 120 Australian Community Media non-dailies, including papers in major centres and metropolitan suburbs.

In the hiatus of the pandemic what went relatively unnoticed and unreported was the 100 year anniversary of the first Courier printed by John Shearer Dunnet, my husband’s grandfather, on May 24, 1920.

The Courier is still in this family’s ownership. For 100 years the community has been well served by its staff and management who have been responsible for keeping the people of Narrabri shire informed and up to date.

As a relative latecomer to the family, and ownership of the paper, I can only admire the sheer tenacity, dedication, professionalism, integrity and expertise of those who preceded me.

Running a paper is not an easy thing. Whatever is printed is there for all the world to see – in black and white.

The paper is a true account of who we are and where we come from and should never be taken for granted.

Until you know how a paper is put together, it is difficult to appreciate the complexity of the business, the sometimes agonising decisions that have to be made, ensuring you, our readers, are well served. Contending with machinery breakdowns, systems failing, computer viruses, staff issues, accusations of bias from extremist groups which only recognise one opinion – theirs, treading the fine line of objectivity for all, yet at the same dedicated to the community so its views are represented fairly, aiming to ensure unrest is not incited when some topics can easily polarise the people is a difficult juggling act. This paper has served the community well and continues to do so.

The Courier employs a dedicated staff who together produce the paper.

We are invested significantly in developing our online platforms and are once again a print site, with the capability of printing The Courier in Narrabri if need be.

We are a local business employing local people.

Thank you to our loyal readers and advertisers who continue to support the paper.

We are proud to serve the people of Narrabri Shire and look forward to a bright future.

Wanda Dunnet, manager, The Courier

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