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Beef Central’s Jon Condon inducted into Rural Journalism Hall of Fame

Beef Central, 07/05/2021

Terry Nolan presenting Jon Condon with an award making his induction into the Queensland Rural Journalism Hall of Fame

BEEF Central publisher and co-founder Jon Condon has been honoured for a distinguished 40-year-career in rural journalism at the Beef 2021 in Rockhampton.

In front of a 650-strong crowd of prominent industry stakeholders at the Rural Press Club of Queensland on Thursday morning, Jon was inducted into the Queensland Rural Journalism Hall of Fame, joining a small list of fine broadcasters, writers and photographers who have contributed greatly to the industry (see other inductees below).

The honour comes within close proximity to two key milestones in Jon’s journalism career.

February 2021 marked 40 years since he started on his path in agricultural journalism as a first-year reporter with Queensland Country Life after completing a degree in journalism and marketing at the University of Queensland.

An early journalistic posting in Townsville led him to breaking his first big story surrounding the now infamous theft of 6000 cattle from Queensland Stations’ NQ property Strathmore – to this day the largest episode of cattle theft in the world.

He also reported extensively on the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis eradication campaign (BTEC) and its impacts on individual property owners. His reporting played a pivotal role in convincing the Federal Government to increase compensation to a more appropriate level to enable producers to survive the vast culling of their herds.

“It was an important learning experience to me – how one person with an old Hermes Media special typewriter, could have an influence on outcomes for the betterment of a broader community” Jon remarked during his acceptance speech on Thursday.

He also noted that this coming Tuesday, 11 May, marks exactly 10 years since he and Beef Central co-founder James Nason “left the comfortable cloak of corporate media and stepped off a cliff to launch Beef Central.”

“We remain incredibly grateful to our loyal readers, advertisers and incredibly supportive industry colleagues and contacts across the industry,” he said.

In announcing Jon’s induction to the Hall of Fame, former Australia Red Meat Advisory Council and Australian Meat Industry Council chair Terry Nolan said from his earliest encounters with Jon, the-then young Queensland Country Life journalist’s “passion to drive to the heart of a good story was palpable”.

“From that first meeting onwards, I, like his ever-increasing readership, would look for his weekly articles and I noticed he took a genuine interest in the red meat processing sector; not just report on straight livestock,” Terry said.

“He understood the holistic approach and importance of a demand chain.  I enquired one day as to why he had such a passion for the downstream processing. He told me that his family had built, and successfully operated, an export beef processing plant at Katherine in the Northern Territory.

“They also ran an extensive cattle enterprise on the Drysdale River in the east Kimberly. It all made sense that he wanted to burrow down into the variables and the triggers of ‘cause and effect’ within our industry.

“He covered many and varied topics for Fairfax/Rural Press, always wanting to bring a slightly different angle, a new perspective, for a typically ‘real trenchant’ story.”

Mr Nolan said a fundamental characteristic any young journalist working in agriculture needs, apart from the obvious ability to string a few words together, is a well-developed sense of natural curiosity.

“Without it, it is very hard to make sense of what happens in our industry. The complexity, the volatility, the emerging technology, the markets, the evolution, the people, even the politics unscrambles just a little if you are curious enough to dig that little deeper. This guy has curiosity in spades.”

Jon’s depth of depth of understanding and historical perspective had “in many ways helped Australian agriculture at large to understand”, he said, adding that his evidenced based approach and strength of conviction were also hallmarks of his career.

“As editor he has clearly demonstrated the courage to challenge both conventional wisdom and inaccuracies fed back in readers’ comments. I am sure people find this refreshing so falsehoods are not cultivated and promoted.

He noted that in the 10 years since Beef Central has been in existence it has become “very much a part of the fabric of our industry”: “Rather than just ‘outsiders looking in’, they are entwined in our industry. I suspect their business fortunes rise and fall on the fortunes of the broader meat and livestock industry, whether it be seasonal cycles, market collapses or whatever they are in the trenches with us.

“Beef Central in many ways has taken the lead as communicators and disseminators of helpful information to our industry. Given the global access to such online publications and the sensitivities of international trade, they have occasionally drawn the wrath of industry. However, I am sure they still take their responsibilities very seriously as evidenced by the number of breaking and nuanced stories they provide.

“Ten years on, many of you, if not all of you, scan your email inbox and invariably log on for your daily fix of Beef Central. Apart from numerous awards and recognition already bestowed on him personally, more importantly, the repeated patronage of any business is the key measure of its success.”

In his acceptance speech Jon described his induction into the Rural Journalism Hall of Fame, where his name joins the late Malcolm McCosker, Rod Green, Kerry Lonergan, Pip Courtney and Robin McConchie, as a “great honour”.

Jon’s 40-year-career in journalism has spanned the transition from newspapers typeset in hot-metal to smartphones which give every person the potential to be a publisher, broadcaster and communicator in their own right, a development that has dramatically changed the face of modern media.

However one thing that had not changed was the importance of the role journalists provided in helping people to better understand often complex issues by breaking them down into digestible packages of information.

In closing Jon thanked his wife Cath, Beef Central’s chief financial officer, “who has given me the license and encouragement to pursue my passion in this industry”.

 

  • Beef Central’s James Nason recently joined the committee of the Rural Press Club of Queensland. It should be noted the the Rural Press Club’s decision to induct Jon Condon into the Hall of Fame took place prior to James Nason joining the committee.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Kel Sorensen, 13/05/2021

    Congratulation Jon, always nice to feel connected to forward thinking people like you, enjoy the induction, (From former Tanholm Limousin, now Grassland Nutrition)

  2. Glen Feist, 10/05/2021

    Congratulations on your achievement Jon, It’s one of life’s great joys to see someone you know accomplish what you have.

    “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Leonardo da Vinci

  3. Alex+McDonald, 10/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon
    A truly well deserved award. May you continue your natural curiosity and excellent reporting for many years to come

  4. John Webster, 10/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon – so well deserved!! I can remember back to the early days of MSA when (as others have commented) you showed a great and objective interest in industry topics – you would have been with QCL at the time.

    You’ve made a real mark on the industry Jon so keep up the great work. Look forward to our paths crossing again in the near future.

  5. Jon Condon, 09/05/2021

    I am incredibly humbled by the overwhelming generosity in the sentiments expressed by my friends, colleagues, acquaintances, workmates and contacts across the industry since I received my Rural Press Club Hall of Fame award on Thursday.

    I have found it difficult to keep up with all your contributions across Facebook, Twitter, text messages, phone messages, face-to-face conversations and reader comments via the Beef Central platform (below), so please accept this as a blanket and very sincere THANK YOU!

    Now – back to work!

  6. Norman CLYDE Clyde Johnson, 09/05/2021

    Well done Jon, chip off the old block. knew your Dad from my early Roma days.

  7. James Nason, 09/05/2021

    Condo I will never cease to be inspired by your professionalism, energy, curiosity and, above all, your ceaseless and boundless enthusiasm for this great industry we have the privilege to report for daily.
    It’s been an incredible honour to work so closely with you, a joy and an education I’m thankful for daily.
    You have never sought personal recognition for yourself or what you do, so I am so delighted to see your tireless and valuable dedication to rural journalism and the Australian beef industry recognised in this way.
    Now if only we could work on some of those jokes…

  8. Jim Lindsay, 09/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon, a well deserved recognition for your achievements. I remember well your start 40 years ago, and what a great contribution to industry you have made in that time. Thanks to Yourself , James and Beef Central for the best ‘go to’ Ag news in Australia!!
    Cheers
    Jim Lindsay

  9. Geoffrey+Beere, 08/05/2021

    Beef Central! Yah!

  10. David Pethick, 08/05/2021

    Dear Jon – congratulations. You are a legend. Top reporter and innovator. Cheers Dave Pethick

  11. Kenrick Riley, 08/05/2021

    Well done Jon. Don’t ever retire!

  12. Liz Pearson, 08/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon, your thirst for a good story, but more importantly an accurate story that holds our industries best interests at heart keeps us all in the safest hands. Beef Central is the trusted ‘go-to’ for so many inside, and outside our industry. Well deserved Jon. Keep it up!

  13. John Griffith, 08/05/2021

    .Well done Jon, richly deserved you have contributed significantly to agriculture not just beef.

  14. Ross Keane, 07/05/2021

    Well done Condo, I also remember the early years in Townsville/Charters Towers and naturally have had a lot to do with you ever since. On top of being a passionate journo, more importantly you have always tried to report in a positive manner which I support. I know that you must have so many stories you decided not to print, because it would be better for this great Industry that they remain dormant, I admire your judgement in this area.
    Well done
    Ross Keane

  15. Ross Peatling, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon. Great recognition & very much deserved

  16. Greg Campbell, 07/05/2021

    Hear Hear.

  17. Ken Wilcock, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon.
    Well done.

  18. Dougal Gordon, 07/05/2021

    Congrats and well deserved Jon. In general, the knowledge and output of agricultural journalists has declined over time but you have continued to deliver interesting, relevant and accurate reporting. Well done!

  19. Paul+D.+Butler, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon…….well deserved.

  20. Richard McClymont, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon. This is a well deserved acknowledgement of your huge contribution to rural journalism. Beef Central has been our “go to” for rural news since day one. Well done old mate.

  21. Dick Slaney, 07/05/2021

    Very well deserved Jon.. Hope we get another few decades out of you yet ..

    cheers

  22. Geoff Haack, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon well deserved. Cheers

  23. Terry Farrell, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon! Well deserved

  24. John Richard, 07/05/2021

    Congratulations Jon.
    Well deserved.
    JR

  25. Lachlan Bowtell, 07/05/2021

    Condo, always the absolute professional across the industry with immeasurable integrity ever since the old QCL days. Well deserved mate, Congrats!!

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