As a late comer to journalism, joining the publication in July 2021 at 33, I was given some leeway as I acclimatised.
A comms degree and a decade working in the cropping industry was a solid foundation, but I still had plenty to learn.
I covered bull sales, cattle markets, horticulture, human interest and a range of other subjects in my first six months. This year felt completely different.
In addition to those important topics, I decided it was time to cover more of the controversial, the secretive, and the heart wrenching topics.
Of course, the editor steers the content and assigns stories where applicable, but we are granted quite a bit of freedom.
The stories I'm describing are often the hardest to write because they take more time, they risk offending people, and you as a reporter risk not getting them right. But I felt it was an important step.
Someone recently said something along the lines of "the best way to navigate the sometimes unbearable plight of existence is to pick up something heavy and carry it". Responsibility, in other words.
So this year I decided to shoulder as much responsibility as I could handle.
One of the first major topics I covered was coal seam gas on the Western Downs.
It's been one of the most controversial topics in that part of the state for the past decade, with many stakeholders involved, including farmers - both for and against CSG, state government, energy companies, the resources council, local politicians, environmental groups and more.
But this year, the battle intensified.
A $1 million fine - the biggest of its kind in state history - was handed to a CSG company for breaching Queensland's land access laws by drilling deviated wells beneath land without the farmers' knowledge and without prior access agreements.
A local farmer said she lost $200,000 in cropping potential due to CSG-induced land subsidence (sinking).
Of course, there are farmers out there who are co-existing with CSG and have no complaints, but they are a lot harder to find.
Perhaps because they don't want to be the subject of scorn, or perhaps the anti-CSG people are more vocal about the topic?
Whatever it might be, it's not my job to take sides. I learnt to listen, to present multiple sides of the argument, and let the readers decide.
Another controversial mining topic was New Acland Coal Mine near Oakey.
After 15 years of court dates, redundancies, and a very public battle in the media, New Acland's stage three project was approved in October.
Plenty of people wanted the mine to go ahead to create jobs and bring more business back to Oakey, but as the state government moves to cut carbon emissions and ramp up renewables, there were also many questioning the decision.
Some nearby farmers are also worried about potential impacts.
It was enlightening to meet a farmer who lives across the road from the mine and to hear his zero-fluff take on things. He said there were issues in the past and he'd prefer it to be agricultural land, but now it was here, he wouldn't begrudge it.
It was September 11 - a Sunday night - and I was scrolling on Twitter when I came across a photo.
The aerial picture showed hectares of land with tiny yellow cotton modules bobbing in water.
I instantly jumped into the comments section, where people were saying a dam wall at Cubbie Station near Dirranbandi had collapsed, flooding the surrounds. By Monday morning, the photo had disappeared.
I jumped on the phone to speak with the people behind the Tweet. They said it shouldn't have been posted and took it down.
Without permission to use it, this publication and its parent company decided not to run the picture.
So why was a dam wall collapsing on private property any of our business or the business of the community?
Because the water could have been impacting neighbours' properties. And given Cubbie is the biggest irrigation farm in the Southern Hemisphere, it had news value.
I drove down there that afternoon and stayed overnight, hoping to speak to some locals about what happened.
However, the next day, neighbours didn't want to comment, owner Macquarie didn't want to speak, and council said nothing.
A disappointing result for transparency given the importance of the event to the community.
It was a Monday afternoon and I had switched off my computer for the day.
Later, as I was browsing on my phone, I saw one of my colleagues post about an emerging situation at Wieambilla. The details from the scene were shocking, and I knew that our newsroom would want to look into it in the morning.
I decided to track down a neighbour and see what was going on. After finding John, we messaged through the night.
As helicopters flew above his house and the news unfolded on TV, he became increasingly worried. He locked his doors and was keeping in contact with a neighbour.
When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had a message from him. It was all over. Two police officers, a neighbour and three armed murderers were dead.
As I was writing about it, I knew how important it was to get the facts right and treat the situation with respect. No hearsay, no gory theorising - just telling people what happened.
It was at this moment I truly realised how significant 'hard news' journalism is. All of the other topics we cover are still important, but these stories really are the first drafts of history.
Further reporting will be crucial in understanding what happened and if there are ways to prevent such a tragedy in future.
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