REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: It's always about the people

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by NSW Central West journalist Nadine Morton.

The role of a journalist is many things - an informer, a researcher, a communicator, a mediator, a truth-teller and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

This month I celebrated my eighth anniversary in my job and I must say I always feel it's a huge privilege to be in such an amazing position.

All too often we journalists provide a voice for people who are willing to share their stories of loss, shock, heartbreak, celebration and hope - not only with us, but with their wider community.

This week Emily and Damon Potts spoke to the Mudgee Guardian about the love and support they received as their son Liam battled courageously with a rare form of brain cancer called pineoblastoma.

In memory of Liam, who died last week, a beautiful photo of his smiling face and loving parents featured on the front page of Tuesday's newspaper.

Moments of celebration bring just as many smiles to journalists as they do to our readers.

PARTNERS: Matthew Barker and Dorothy Hancock solidified their love for each other at a commitment ceremony on Saturday. Photo: TRENT CASH

PARTNERS: Matthew Barker and Dorothy Hancock solidified their love for each other at a commitment ceremony on Saturday. Photo: TRENT CASH

The endearing love story of Bathurst couple Dorothy Hancock and Matthew Barker was celebrated on their paper's front page on Tuesday as well as by 130 guests at their wedding on the weekend. See all the beautiful photos.

Local journalism builds the ties that bring communities closer together, in good times and in bad.

We often cheer along as our sports people get closer to their goals, such as Adelaide-based Olympic swimming champion Kyle Chalmers who has undergone heart surgery for the third time in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Swim ace Kyle Chalmers is confident of competing at the Tokyo Games after undergoing heart surgery.

Swim ace Kyle Chalmers is confident of competing at the Tokyo Games after undergoing heart surgery.

Chalmers, still just 21, was out of competitive swimming for some time after a surgery in 2017 but won't be sidelined for quite so long. He's keen on racing in the new International Swimming League and will be back training in early September after a short break to recover.

Our journalists are often called upon by grieving people to help create an obituary of their loved ones so that the wider community not only knows of the death, but can celebrate the life well lived.

Recently, North West Star journalist Samantha Walton penned this obituary about Cloncurry drover Oscar 'Ock' Thomas Remfrey who died following a battle with cancer.

"His parents were drovers, and therefore Ock never went to school. He learnt to ride a horse at a young age and set to droving as a child, this shaped the rest of his life which was full of cattle, horses, rodeos and family," she wrote.

VALE: Oscar 'Ock' Thomas Remfrey, 74, died following a battle with cancer. Photo: SUPPLIED

VALE: Oscar 'Ock' Thomas Remfrey, 74, died following a battle with cancer. Photo: SUPPLIED

Journalists will often campaign alongside their communities to raise awareness or call for change and we did this with Victorian goat farmer John Gommans who told of how animal activist trespassing incidents were impacting his livelihood.

To everyone who has shared their stories with their local journalists - thank you. To those of you who we are yet to meet - we can't wait to hear what you've done.

Nadine Morton

NSW Central West journalist

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