‘My new patch’ by Jon Hebditch

The Piper's new reporter Jon Hebditch.
The Piper's new reporter Jon Hebditch.

As I near the end of my third week as a reporter here, I felt it would be appropriate to tell the good readers of Deeside and Donside a little of what I have found.

Since graduating in June 2011 with my degree in Journalism, up until my interview in Banchory’s Scott Skinner Square, I hardly left Aberdeen and forgot what beautiful scenery was right on my doorstep. The forests and hills I see on my daily commute from the Granite City never cease to amaze. They are reminders of a more unspoilt Scotland that I had missed living in the city.

I must be one of a very small group who can say they enjoy their commute to work!

While the Piper covers some sizeable towns and villages: Banchory, Aboyne, Alford, Braemar, Westhill etc, I have never previously had the chance to cover the more rural stories: the farmers markets, small villages with one shop and a church hosting an event, community presentations.

These stories are as much at the heart of the paper as any of our “bigger” issues.

Before moving to the Piper I had worked as a reporter in Aberdeen and Dundee where the stories involved more crime, whereas covering this vast area I can’t help but notice the great community spirit evident in the largest and smallest places; from Banchory to Finzean from Alford to Echt- everyone has made me feel welcome.

As a new reporter I have had to familiarise myself pretty quickly with the local issues and people in Deeside and Donside aren’t shy about giving their opinions! There are huge debates surrounding issues such as wind farms, planning applications, town expansions and the ongoing issue of Aberdeenshire Council’s massive overspend. Opinions are strong on both sides and it is our job at the Piper to let everyone know the facts so the debate can’t be hijacked by any one side. It is a great thing about working for a newspaper without political affiliation- something my colleagues in Fleet Street can’t say!

I am proud to be working here and I will do all I can to report the news of the area accurately and fairly and serve the local community.

If you have a story you would like me to cover please get in touch- by phone: 01330 824955, email: news@deesidepiper.com or contact me through our Facebook and Twitter accounts.