Editor's Blog

The downside of progress

05:00am 05 May 2014

We are proud at the Marlborough Express of the progress we have made on our website during the past few years.

The website mex.co.nz, which is part of the Stuff news mega-website managed by our Fairfax NZ parent company, has grown from virtually nothing to a daily following of thousands of readers, both in Marlborough and throughout the world.

While the website carries mostly news, it is also an opportunity for people to comment on stories and vote in our regular polls. It also ties in with our Facebook page, which has become a community link - as a way to let people know what's happening, and to help feed news tips through to our newsroom.

Most of the credit for the website's success can go to Megan Leov, who was originally our editorial assistant and fitted the work in between all the other jobs she did in the newsroom. Two years ago she took over as fulltime digital editor and had more time to focus on the website and linking up through our Facebook page. 

When I say it was a fulltime job, that's an understatement. She spent many more than eight hours every day managing the site, and again at weekends - loading stories and pictures, updating information, releasing comments people had put on stories, and sending out alerts. 

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Spare a thought for the workers

05:00am 02 May 2014

It is going to take months for some of the farmers along the east coast to get their fences sorted and clean up the debris from the storms during Easter.

They're probably used to dealing with the fallout from heavy rain, but that storm seemed exceptional. The rivers were torrents and the water running out from paddocks and small driveways created rivers across the road.

The workers who spent much of Easter out clearing up the mess had the roads open quickly, but they also have a lot of work to do.

We headed south late afternoon on the Thursday afternoon and drove through minor surface flooding, although it got wider and deeper the closer we got to Kaikoura.

It wasn't until we got to the deep south the next day and checked the news that we discovered must have made it through by the skin of our teeth, both through Kaikoura and through a major washout south of Oamaru.

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A day we'll remember a long time

05:00am 11 Apr 2014

Well that was lucky. Or good management.

If that heavy rain last night had come any earlier, our team of reporters and photographers would have been out there getting wet, trying to take notes on soggy pads. Even using a pencil, that's pretty difficult.

Covering part of a royal tour in New Zealand is an assignment that comes along every 10 years or so. The last one I was part of involved sending reporters off to Dunedin for a couple of days. This time was different, with most of the action just 300 metres or so from the office.

We had a plan for covering the day, with people in specified spots. Some of them were in the media "pools", which means they get a bit closer to the royals, but have to give their pictures and stories to every other media outlet. Quickly. It's quite a big job.

They all set off for Seymour Square about 9.30pm and we didn't see then back until about 3pm when it was all over.

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Great event, great weekend

05:00am 07 Apr 2014

Congratulation and well done to everyone who completed the GrapeRide on Saturday.

Whether it was the full 101km lap, or the shorter 40km "taster" rider, you did well.

And we can all only stand and admire the training and determination of the people who completed the five and 10-lap events. Having said that, though, it was just as much a personal test for some of the people who did the shorter rides.

My brother-in-law was pretty happy with his time this year, although coming off his bike and losing his chain added a couple of minutes that he wasn't too pleased about, and he was hobbling round with an injured knee for the rest of the weekend. And my sister relaxed this year and totally enjoyed the taster ride.

They, like many of the entrants, will be back again next year.

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Keep those cranks turning, turning

05:00am 04 Apr 2014

It's the first weekend in April. That means it's time for my brother-in-law to fire up some competitive talk.

But he can do it all he likes this weekend because it's not going to work. There's no point. I'm not doing the Forrest GrapeRide.

This is Lycra weekend in Marlborough, when about 2500 people of all ages and shapes get biked-up and head out for a race around the Renwick-Picton-Havelock circuit to prove something to themselves and their friends. That they can last 101km on a bike seat.

Done it once, don't need to do it again.

The brother-in-law tried to shame me into doing it a second time with the threat he would beat my time. Which he did. Was I worried? Nah.

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