Reporting for duty in Oamaru

ON THE JOB: Waitaki Herald reporter Daniel Birchfield.
ON THE JOB: Waitaki Herald reporter Daniel Birchfield.

Being offered a job at the Waitaki Herald in Oamaru after graduating from Aoraki Polytechnic with a journalism diploma in 2010 was exciting and daunting at the same time.

I'd only ever passed through Oamaru while travelling south and knew next to nothing about the town I'd be working in.

I was essentially starting cold and didn't know a single person here.

Looking back, it was probably one of the biggest challenges I've faced.

Working in a rural office for a community newspaper is completely different from working for a daily.

In a large newsroom setting, you've got other reporters to bounce ideas off, or have a bit of a chinwag with about what's going on around the place.

As the Waitaki Herald's sole reporter, that's something I miss after I've worked with the folk at the Timaru Herald when I head up there.

It's starting to sound like my job's depressing, but I can assure you it's not.

Oamaru is a wonderful place and for a town with a population of around 12,000, there's always a lot going on.

Every day is a little bit different, which is a great aspect of the job. You're always tackling something new, whether it be a story about Steampunk, the Oamaru Courthouse or how the North Otago rugby team is doing.

I've met some colourful and interesting people during my time in Oamaru. It's these people that make it the special place it is.

If it wasn't for them and their willingness to share their stories with the rest of the Waitaki District, there probably wouldn't be a Waitaki Herald.

A community newspaper is a vital part of any town and Oamaru is certainly no different. We always try our best to get as much in the paper as we can, which I admit can be a stretch at times as I don't want to miss anything out. Being a one-man band, sometimes I can't get to every event or cover every story I'd like to.

I've had a fantastic 3 years or so in Oamaru providing the people of Waitaki with their dose of weekly news.

I'll be around for a long time yet.

The Timaru Herald