LAST weekend, we shared the story of how the Bendigo Advertiser helped destroy a trans man's life.
If you have not read it yet, you can click here - but only if you subscribe to our website or buy our newspaper.
Some have asked a fair question: why should they pay to read it? Not everyone can afford to take out a subscription, after all.
I'm the journalist who wrote that story. Let me tell you how I see it.
The original story: This newspaper helped destroy a Trans man's life, and we are sorry
I really doubt we would have even known there was something we needed to apologise for, if not for the financial certainty our online subscriber model provides.
My editor would not have been able to give me the time I needed to look into it.
Just writing the story up took the better part of two days. There were multiple drafts - neither was good enough.
I was so worried that I sought out Bendigo trans advocate Zara Jones for advice. Thank goodness I did. Without her, I am sure the apology would have done more harm than good.
I also spent A LOT of time factchecking everything. I am not aware of any experts on the Advertiser's historical treatment of de Lacy Evans. Maybe I am now one.
I worked at this paper before the subscriber model came in, and when I say that it makes our journalism better, I am saying it because I've seen it firsthand.
In the past few years, the Advertiser has broken a number of major stories about Bendigo's past. Several of them - the de Lacy Evans story included - have focused on the sort of events that this city is good at conveniently forgetting.
Here's another one: Indigenous Ancestors remains are unaccounted for, years after museum's closure
Without subscribers, a smaller Advertiser newsroom could still have run an article on de Lacy Evans.
It would probably have focused solely on a new mural in Chancery Lane (in fact, we ran that particular story in print last Saturday, and plan to post it online tomorrow).
The mural is an important story, but not nearly as critical to the public's interests as us calling out our masthead's appalling treatment of de Lacy Evans, 143 years ago.
There are other groups in Bendigo that need to have their own reckoning with their past, whether that be on sexuality, gender, race or any other issue you might care to mention.
I'm going to keep trawling historic records until I find enough evidence to publish stories on them.
All I ask is that when I do, people understand that our subscribers made it possible.
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