December 24, 2020
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and advertisers a very Happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.
southburnett.com.au is taking a short break over the Festive season and will return to normal updating on January 22.
While we’re away we’ll continue to broadcast some subjects (such as our live TV program schedules, weather reports, and public notices from the South Burnett Regional Council).
We will also be posting occasional news updates if important stories break.
Our regular phone and email contacts will also be operating throughout the break if you need to get in touch with us.
And, naturally, should a major news story break, we will be back at our desks immediately.
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We would also like to thank you, our loyal readers, for another year of growth – our eighth year as the South Burnett’s only locally owned daily newspaper.
During the past year our website received slightly more than 2.6 million visits – an average of more than 50,300 readers per week.
We also broadcast almost 13.4 million pages of news, and our servers chewed up 1.5 terabytes of bandwidth to do this.
Since April 2012 we have published 19,810 articles, nearly all of them about the South Burnett or about issues that directly affect the people who live here.
We’ve been proud to bring the stories about our wonderful piece of Queensland – and the people who make it so – to you and the world.
And we hope we’re proving why local journalism is more relevant than ever, even if most of us now absorb the news through screens rather than in print.
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It’s also timely to look back at some of the milestones that have occurred in the South Burnett over the past 12 months.
The year began fairly normally, with preparations for March Council elections the biggest item on the agenda for the first quarter.
But most people’s plans were completely derailed from mid-March onwards when a local resident became our region’s first recorded case of COVID-19. Pandemic restrictions began to be introduced across Australia soon afterwards.
The main effect of these restrictions were felt by local event organisers and community sports groups, but businesses – especially businesses connected to hospitality – took a big hit as well.
The result was that nearly all our region’s RSL clubs went through several months of closures; nearly all our region’s big events (with just a handful of exceptions) were cancelled; most organised sports took an enforced vacation; and we all got used to signing in and out and sanitising our hands when we visited a hotel, restaurant or cafe for a meal or refreshments.
Thankfully, the Federal Government quickly stepped in with support to keep the nation’s economy from totally imploding.
In the end, the South Burnett turned out to be a much better place to avoid the pandemic than any of Australia’s big cities.
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However, the pandemic forced us to look at how we gathered and presented news, and this year we took advantage of the lockdown to begin our planned, major upgrade of our website.
This is still only half complete.
Our new design is aimed at bringing you the news across all screen sizes – anything from a desktop PC down to your smartphone – and it has required us to rework all our articles (yes, all 19,810 of them) to accommodate this new format.
So far this year we’ve converted roughly two-thirds of our content, and we hope to have the remainder done during the next few months.
We also have plans to introduce exciting new online services for readers, but we will have more to say about these when they are ready to roll out.
In the meantime, we’d like to thank you for your patience while we carry out this major upgrade.
We are aware there are some things missing from our current site and a number of things we can do better, and we intend to remedy these once the bulk of our articles have been converted across.
But as always, we can assure you that we do not intend to put up a paywall.
Access to our website will remain free.
We rely on our advertisers to cover our costs, and we hope you reward them with your patronage for making local news not only possible, but completely free.
All the best for 2021!