Last updated 10:18 16/03/2012
Simon Wong is leaving us today.
He is packing up his Facebook account and his Twitter logon. We will follow his progress as he writes in 140 characters (the limit for a tweet) about what he sees around the world.
Simon came to Marlborough from Auckland two years ago to work at the Express and has been our court reporter, covering the "list" days each week, the sentencing sessions, the trials and the appeals. He has become quite familiar with a "certain element" of the region.
Being a court reporter is not always an easy job, mostly because people don't like seeing their misdemeanours reported in the paper. Simon, like many others before him, has regularly been pressured by people not to report on their case, or to leave out their name.
We leave name suppression up to the judge and the law, though, and print names whenever we can, so there are no claims of favouritism. Which means Simon has not always been the most popular person in court and has suffered quite a bit of personal abuse.
I remember one caller upset his case had been covered suggesting that I should send "that Asian boy back to China" (and that is the edited version). We had a lively discussion about small-town racism, during which I told him Simon is a born-and-raised Aucklander and probably knows more about New Zealand and its history than he ever will. He hung up.
Wimon Song (the Twitter version of our court reporter) has also been one of our in-house social media experts. He's up with the technology and the language and has regularly sent out comments on the networks to keep followers up with what we've got in the paper and on our website.
Whenever I complain about a computer problem or some other technical foul-up I see him look at me with an expression that says, "You poor dinosaur". It's the same look I get from my son.
We'll miss Simon, another soul to have passed briefly through our newsroom, and wish him well as he returns to Auckland before his big overseas adventures.
- The Marlborough Express