The downside of progress
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.
Megan has done a remarkable job, but it was way too much work for one person. Other Fairfax papers found the same problem, so there has been a major reorganisation of the way all the regional websites are managed.
The individual web editors have been combined into a central team to share the load and work on a roster covering more hours. It should mean we keep our website running as efficiently as possible, but without the huge workload for one person.
The downside is that Megan has decided to take time out because her heart was only in the Marlborough website. That was her passion and she felt she didn't have the same energy to put into websites for regions where she didn't know the people and what they cared about.
So after nearly six years of early morning starts, Megan got to sleep in after 5am today. We will miss her a great deal because she was much more than our digital editor. She was a lot like our camp mother.
I'm sure she will still be part of the Express news family, but morning TV doesn't make up for her not being here at 5.45am.