What are the chances of two Midlands women with a successful community newspaper who want to go farming meeting two Durban journalists, who, like most scribes, dream of owning their own paper?
Call it serendipitous, but that is exactly what has occurred in the lives of Phillippa Gordon and Caroline Richter, owners of The Meander Chronicle, and the two of us, Garth Johnstone and Nerissa Card.
Garth, until recently the digital and night news editor of Durban’s morning daily, The Mercury, and I, Durban production editor for the Sunday Times group until I was retrenched in December, have been to-ing and fro-ing between Durban and Nottingham Road at weekends for 18 months.
We built a tiny wooden house in Notties as a plan B (not to mention that we’d been watching far too much “Building Alaska” and “Live Free Or Die” on DStv) should either of us be retrenched from the mainstream media industry.
After way too many retrenchment processes for our liking in the past four years, that came to pass for me.
With only one salary, we knew we could not afford to stay in Durban. We also knew it was time to give up on mainstream for good and live our dream.
So we put out a few feelers and, as it happened, one of our contacts turned out to be a long-time friend of Phillippa’s. She introduced us (we owe her a lot) and here we are, the soon-to-be new faces of The Meander Chronicle.
Garth and I are all too aware that we have huge shoes to fill and to say we are terrified is an understatement. We hope, however, that our collective 40-plus years’ experience in this game will equip us to keep delivering the goods, as this newspaper has done for the past 14 years.
Some of you may have read the story I wrote in last month’s edition, but for those who didn’t, Garth and I hope that you, The Meander Chronicle’s loyal readers and advertisers, will join us on our journey to a new life in the beautiful KZN Midlands.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have any interesting story tip-offs. As you will have gathered, we are fairly new to the community and need all the help we can get.
Until April, happy meandering.
Nerissa (and Garth, who, as I write this, is heading deep into the hills to bring you a hidden gem of a story in next month’s edition, our first).