AS we enjoy another Christmas with one eye on minding each other, and the other on taking a well-earned break, it’s time for each of us to congratulate ourselves on having navigated another challenging year successfully.
But, despite the difficult days everyone has endured together, it’s also worth noting there are myriad things to appreciate.
Here in West Cork, we have been incredibly lucky to have been surrounded by so many beautiful sights and landscapes during our various lockdowns and restrictions.
It has been a very tough two years for businesses throughout the region, but the power and positivity of the local people has pulled us all through.
And here, at The Southern Star, we have experienced that in two ways. We have been hugely supported ourselves by the community at a time when the newspaper industry has been going through radical change.
In my first year as editor, I couldn’t have asked for better support.
And, as a news gathering source, the Star is incredibly privileged to be able to report on that positivity – and the various ways and means our local but vibrant community has ploughed on, regardless of any obstacles.
Our social media arms have also had a dual purpose – we have been able to inform the public instantly on updates to restrictions, openings-up, and everything in between.
But we have also been a much-used conduit for the public to share their own opinions and views, and we have encouraged a healthy debate on all topics, in a respectful and mutually beneficial way.
Through the pandemic, our reporters have come up with new and innovative ways to tell the stories of West Cork. While we never skipped a beat in the print edition – despite the historic move to working from home for all our reporting and production staff – we gained a huge following online, and have continued to serve that audience in new and interesting ways.
Our hugely popular Sports podcast was joined, just weeks into 2020, by a weekly news ‘Coronavirus’ podcast, offering extensive interviews with local personalities, politicians, and those involved in the frontline of the pandemic.
This year we chose to reduce the regularity of the podcast in order to offer our viewers a series of high quality, professionally-produced video and audio documentaries on a variety of topics, from Macroom’s multi-million euro bypass, to the sea-swimming craze, to an intimate portrait of Rory Gallagher, to a tourism special, and much more.
The beauty of the medium is that all of these videos are readily available to view, in your own time and at your own leisure, across a number of platforms, but primarily via southernstar.ie.
We will endeavour to bring more of those high quality productions to our readers and viewers in 2022.
And, as we look forward to another busy year, we are curious to look back at the most popular stories, as ranked by our online readers, for 2021.
Most read stories of 2021
As we say goodbye to 2021 and look forward with undeniable trepidation towards another year, let us all take this opportunity to look out for each other once more, and remember that while kindness has no cost, it is an invaluable gift.
Thank you, to all our readers and viewers and advertisers, for your continued support.
Siobhan Cronin, Editor