Ask someone what a role of a local newspaper should be in their community and you will get many varied answers. A fundamental role for a local newspaper is to champion causes and to fight for the things their region needs them to fight for.
Our masthead has had a long and proud history of picking up that torch when needed. Earlier this year, having sat through one of the most horrendous child neglect cases imaginable, Illawarra Mercury court reporter Shannon Tonkin identified a flaw in the penalties for such offences in this state.
In NSW, judges or magistrates do not have the option of administering jail or even threatening it as a deterrent for even the most abhorrent cases of child neglect. So began our State of Neglect campaign, a campaign which has already been recognised with A Kennedy Award and most recently a nomination for the impending Walkley Awards for Journalism Excellence.
More recently we joined forces with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative in the Care to QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer campaign. On Saturday, we launched a new campaign, The Silent Treatment. This campaign will fight for long promised and never delivered services in our region for those in the Illawarra living with an eating disorder.
Standing up for our community and those within it is a role we take very seriously.