If you are reading my column you are doing so online. This is the only way loyal Advertiser readers will be able to catch up on local news since the decision was made to cease printing this iconic paper earlier this month.
Even as I write this column I find it hard to comprehend that I may never hold my local paper in my hand again, damp from the morning dew and full of the names of people and places that I recognise.
Growing up in this area meant that if you attended a local event, there was always a reporter from the Addy somewhere in the crowd taking a photo. You would eagerly await the next edition to see if you, or someone you knew, had popped up in one of the photos published in the next edition reflecting the happenings around your town.
Eagerly reading local stories about local people and feeling happy about engagements, marriages or births and saddened when you recognised a name in the funeral notices. Governments at all levels, people with shared interests such as sporting clubs, service groups, schools and cultural activities, all depend on the weekly edition of the Advertiser to share their news.
The Cessnock Advertiser and its predecessor, the Eagle had been in publication since 1913. The announcement that the Cessnock Advertiser is one of ten Hunter newspapers to close until at least 29 June is very troubling to all the people of the region.
Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has acknowledged that regional media is essential in informing and strengthening local communities and will announce details of a funding package soon. Unfortunately this package may have come too late for many, already struggling, local newspapers.
Thank you to all of the current and former staff of the Cessnock Advertiser for the contribution you have made to your local communities and I will be watching in anticipation for good news at the end of June.