This week we’re grateful for grants, politicians, hairdressers and a giraffe’s birthday… it’s another “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.
MY day job is the joy of editing this paper and I have, as editors are wont to do, been musing about a word – “grateful”.
One unsurprising definition was “appreciative of benefits received”, but I think of gratitude having much deeper value. It’s about acknowledging an emotional indebtedness.
It’s more than superficially being “grateful” (thankful, maybe) for the gift of, say, sharing gossip over a decaf, soy latte with friends or the wistful beauty of a milky, winter sun. One journalist we know of regularly uses “grateful” to acquit the weekly slate of freebies by listing her sponsors.
So why the pondering? The last seven days or so have given this paper and its website a lot to be grateful for. And I mean grateful. Industrial-strength gratitude.
We are incredibly grateful recipients of a federal government grant from the $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program, which supports public-interest journalism in regional Australia delivered by newspapers, commercial television and radio businesses.
Our grant was but a welcome crumb of that big number, but when combined with the kind support from readers over recent months, we’ve been able to expand our talented team in ways that were beyond us without this leg-up.
I think you’ll agree, we’ve chosen wisely.
With the ACT election looming, we’ve been able to welcome Belinda Strahorn, a skilled and experienced print and television journalist, as our political reporter. She has had overseas experience, including reporting for Aljazeera in London.
In backing the work of Belinda and all our journalists and contributors, we cheerfully publish advertising to cover the costs of getting a paper out in these incredibly challenging times.
To that end, we’ve also been able to employ Tracey Avery, one of the most experienced print advertising executives I’ve ever met. And I’ve met the best! She lives and breathes the benefits of print (and website) advertising for her clients and will be a fabulous advocate for the “CityNews” story, which is a good one.
So, where’s the gratitude? We’re grateful to have Belinda and Tracey on board and deeply grateful, the wistful beauty of the milky winter sun notwithstanding, to the Commonwealth for its vote of confidence in us.
AS Donald Trump masterfully diverted public attention from America’s health and economic disasters with a malevolent suggestion that the US election date (November 3) should be delayed, our own date with electoral destiny (October 17) draws closer.
John Lawrence, of Flynn, in this week’s letters page (Page 14), reckons the run up to October’s poll is a “miserable disappointment” and as quiet as a cemetery at midnight.
Unlike President Trump, our local aspirants are trying anything to get seen and heard in the absence of traditional campaigning methods, such as door knocking.
They stand dolefully around shopping centres handing out highly recyclable flyers. The more shameless have inveigled their way into the Moncrieff Residents’ Group on Facebook to the chagrin of some members who want to keep politics out of their little community noticeboard.
AND in this election climate, one shouldn’t be surprised to see former crimper and Labor backbencher Bec Cody calling on her political comrades to expand the ACT portable long service leave scheme to include her former comrades.
The member for Murrumbidgee proclaimed: “Today, I’m calling on the ACT government to recognise that hairdressers have skills that are transferable across businesses in Canberra and that they deserve to have the same entitlements under the portable long service scheme that tradespeople in other industries have,” Ms Cody says.
But here’s the rub. Ms Cody concedes the itinerant nature of the industry saying: “Hairdressers often don’t stay with one employer for long enough to qualify for long-service leave”. Time was that long-service leave was just that: an entitlement for long service with the one employer, a sort of loyalty bonus.
FINALLY, there’s been a special birthday at the zoo: poster boy Hummer the giraffe turned 19 and was feted with a special “giraffe cake”.
As Hummer enters the last of the teenage years, I was piqued to wonder what the life expectancy is for giraffes. And I’m sorry I looked, Hummer; in the wild, up to 26 years and a little longer in captivity.
Apropos of nothing, I also learnt that giraffes need less sleep than any other mammal – five minutes at a time (standing up), to an average of 30 minutes a day. Clearly they’re here for a good time not a long time!