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Thursday 10 November 2016

Editorial: Farewell Jacqui Stanford

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By Jay Bennie - 8th October 2015

Jacqui with friend Dan News at this year's Big Gay Out
It is with a range of emotions and feelings that we will tomorrow wave goodbye to Jacqui Stanford who has anchored our news and current affairs coverage for just over five years.

There is gratitude for the above and beyond the call of duty commitment Jacqui has shown in writing and guiding high-quality reporting and comment in order to carry out's journalistic aims: to provide a timely, independent and respected news and information service to, for and by the people of our New Zealand glbti communities; to lay down a widely-read platform which people and groups can use to get their messages across; to elucidate, educate and entertain.

There is appreciation of her professional and personal skills. Jacqui came to us from a highly-placed position as a journalist and network sub-editor at the prestigious NewstalkZB national newsroom, a role she continued on a regular and part time basis, especially when overwork or illnesses threatened to overwhelm that organisation. Whether reporting from a courtroom, firing off sharply aimed yet delicately worded emails to recalcitrant government agencies, blogging live from events such as Pride Parades with wit and an eye for detail, or feeling her way through the complexities of thorny intra-community conflicts, Jacqui has inevitably come up trumps and we are all the better for her work.

There is apprehensiveness at losing her 'cut to the chase' pragmatism and forthright voice in the internal newsroom debates which often precede individual stories and wider coverage of thorny issues, and her ability to get along with just about anyone regardless of the heat and pressure they are experiencing when they subsequently come to her attention.

Jacqui's passionate yet all too human approach to the work has at times pressed down on her spirit, but she has always lifted her head and found a way to draw on that experience to more determinedly contribute to a reliable source of information and perspective which she herself drew on when coming to terms with her upbringing in a deeply conservative religious environment.

There is excitement at the venture which has lured her away from motherhood. Her pregnancy has been something she has occasionally written about with insight and a wry sense of humour and now it is only a matter of weeks before Jacqui will be full-term. This is as good a time as any to acknowledge the staunch support Jacqui has received for her work from her partner Dee, one of the most 'no-bullshit' yet rogueish people it has ever been our great pleasure to know.

There is just a whiff of apprehension about what life here will be like post-Jacqui but we have occasionally lost such expertise before (Chris Banks was poached to become the communications manager of the NZ AIDS Foundation, Matt Akerston left to become editor of the big SameSame glbti website based in Sydney). And we have confidence we will survive and continue to provide a quality non-profit glbti community news service in no small part due to Jacqui's replacement, Sarah Murphy.

Sarah has an insightful and penetrating approach to news-writing and related coverage. She is a clear thinker and shares the passion we all have for helping make sure our glbti communities and individuals are well-informed about the issues and matters which affect our lives and aspirations. Sarah has quietly been on board for the past couple of weeks and is coming to terms with our idiosyncrasies remarkably well. She won't be Jacqui, she is and will be a different woman, but that is a good thing. The culture which Jacqui helped develop here at is something which Sarah can now modify and build on, adding her own personality and strengths.

We welcome Sarah with confidence and open arms, we farewell Jacqui with heartfelt thanks and bright, rainbow-coloured best wishes for the family-based future she and Dee have embarked on.

- Jay Bennie Content Editor

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Jay Bennie - 8th October 2015