By Dave Murdoch
From the time Sue Emeny was a toddler the smell of lead, moving machinery and ink permeated her life, being the daughter of print foreman, Trevor, at the Dannevirke Evening News.
Sue said her dad worked long hours in the production of Dannevirke's daily paper and she spent time watching and learning about the business, developing a desire to become a journalist.
At age 17 she joined the company as a cadet and worked three years in that role under the guidance of local icons Warren Barton, Colin Laurie and Hap Appleton. She had to overcome incredible shyness but experience is a great teacher.
Early on she took on the task of court reporting - something she still enjoys – and one of her earliest cases was the first court appearance of Bruce Howse.
After an OE to Australia with friends she began a job as a reporter on the Levin Chronicle and after seven months moved to the Weekly News in Levin as sub-editor and reporter – learning to really love the sub-editing role.
This led to a sub-editor's role at the Herald Tribune in Hawke's Bay where, under her father's former editor Jack Salzberger, she really learned her craft.
After 18 months it was back to Levin as a sub-editor before taking on that role at the Dannevirke Evening News in 1982, promoted to editor in August 1989 as the first woman editor of a daily paper in New Zealand.
While she found the role incredibly hard at times because she had to make difficult decisions which upset people, she enjoyed the challenge and served for 14 years before, seeing the paper's future as uncertain, Sue moved back to Levin as the chief sub-editor.
With parents unwell in Dannevirke Sue took on the role of advertising features writer at Palmerston North's Manawatu Standard, travelling from Dannevirke each day. She was able to work from home a bit, especially when becoming feature writer for Fairfax nationwide.
Exactly two years ago she became the Dannevirke News writer for Hawke's Bay Today and on Friday, April 16, Sue retired after 49 years in journalism.
She says she feels extremely privileged to have experienced print media from its earliest days when the Dannevirke News was a complex operation involving linotype machines, hot lead, and multiple checks on the accuracy of stories before the first edition was ready for the Rural Delivery at 1pm, to be followed by the second edition for town.
The changes to offset printing presses and eventually computers have transformed the process but the technology is still evolving.
Sue thoroughly enjoyed her many jobs in media, particularly the last two years getting to find out what amazing people live in the Dannevirke community. She says she is sad to retire but plans to keep writing.
As her colleague for the last two years, I have found Sue to be extremely professional with all the extreme level of accuracy of reporting that goes with that title together with a high level of integrity in treating people she met. She is highly respected by her peers.
Dannevirke was privileged to have been served by this lady both in the past and in recent years.
We wish her well in her retirement.