The Rural Press Club of Victoria has a new president in Laura Poole.

Laura, vice-president for the past two years, takes over from Rex Martinich, senior journalist at the Ararat Advertiser and Stawell Times News, who has been in the top job for the past two years.

Laura started her journalism career with the Wimmera Mail-Times. She moved into broadcast media with the ABC, initially working as the Western Victoria Rural Reporter. After a stint presenting and producing the South Australian Country Hour, Laura moved back to her home of Gippsland where she is the chief of staff of ABC Gippsland. She is passionate about quality journalism in regional Australia, and loves living and working in Gippsland.

“Regional communities need strong journalism, and the press club is here to support journalists in a changing media landscape and celebrate their great work,” she said.

Laura will oversee the current review of the RPCV award categories. The committee plans to make some subtle changes to reflect the changing platforms regional journalists are filing to more regularly.

This year’s annual awards night was held in August, in front of a crowd of 110 rural journalists. The club received more than 300 entries from across Victoria, southern New South Wales and Tasmania.

Laura led the Club’s involvement in organising a successful event in Gippsland last month featuring Tracey Spicer. More than 100 people attended the Warragul event, which the RPCV staged in collaboration with Women in Media and Women in Gippsland .

Rex will stay on as vice-president of the club.

“As president for 2016-17, I’d like to thank all committee members and those that attended and helped out at events,” he said.

The committee welcomes Stephen Cooke, Dairy News Australia, back to the treasurer’s role, and Laura Griffin, Currie Communications, returns as secretary.

The RPCV’s next event is a news photography workshop planned for December 4.

Details will be posted at shortly.