Australian independent publisher the Today News Group has announced a new agricultural publication and a second weekly edition for its CQ Today, based in Rockhampton.
Monthly free newspaper Queensland Farmer Today will have two editions, with the first – for southern Queensland – launching on October 28. A Central Queensland and Wide Bay edition is planned for next year.
The group is also planning to expand its CQ Today masthead – launched as a weekly following News Corp Australia’s closure of the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin’s print edition – with a second edition.
The $3 paid-sale CQ Today will become a biweekly – publishing on Wednesdays and Saturdays from this week – “due to popular demand”, according to general manager David Richardson (below). “We were confident there was still strong demand for a local newspaper, and we’ve been humbled by the community and business support we’ve received from Central Queenslanders during our founding year as an independent publisher.”
He says that while the plan was always to grow to two editions a week, they were “delighted to be delivering on that vision” from October 6.
The Saturday edition will carry more local news coverage and extra content such as a full racing guide and critical state and national news relevant to Central Queensland, while Wednesday’s paper will have a stronger sports section, a full TV guide and will enable CQ Today “to bring weekend news to readers more quickly”.
Two editions per week is “the right number for the modern era”, he said. “Our website will always be the place for publishing urgent breaking news, and two newspapers per week will allow us to cover the full scope of local news and events in a timelier way.” Home delivery subscribers will be able to have both additions delivered to their door.
Richardson says newly-established sister weekly newspaper Gladstone Today is also being “very warmly received” by its local community.
Both these and the new agricultural paper are being printed at the former News Corp facility in Rockhampton, acquired by CQ Today’s publishers. The existing Mangugraph single-width pressline is also producing a number of other regional newspapers from throughout Queensland.
Offices at the print site in Hempenstall Street have been refurbished and are to be the new home of the entire CQ Today team. “We’re proud to have created more than 20 jobs for the region, and our growth has been strong and carefully-paced to ensure we can keep our commitment to quality,” says Richardson.
Today News Group director Damian Morgan (pictured) says the launch of Queensland Farmer Today on October 28 is a response to the vibrant agricultural sector. “We know there’s still very strong demand from farmers to read a printed newspaper with agricultural news, so we’re confident it will have a strong audience,” he said.
Today News Group claims to have grown to be the largest independent newspaper publisher in Queensland, following the successful restart of local independent newspapers in markets, in many of which News Corp stopped printing in 2020. They include Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Gympie, Burnett, Noosa, Ipswich, Warwick and Stanthorpe, all in Queensland.
With more than 30,000 copies distributed through Today newspapers and strategic drop-off points, publishers of the “initially monthly” Queensland Farmer Today are already claiming the largest circulation of any agricultural newspaper in Queensland.
“We’ve been able to quickly establish successful newspapers throughout Queensland by reassembling the highly skilled teams made redundant by News Corp into our independent model with a hyperlocal focus, and with Farmer Today we’re lucky to have some of the best agricultural news professionals on our team some of whom previously produced the old Rural Weekly,” Morgan says.
The initial, southern edition of Queensland Farmer Today will be distributed from Toowoomba to Roma, and between Proston and Goondiwindi, its coverage area including Toowoomba, Darling Downs, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Burnett regions, some of the most productive farmland in Australia.
A CQ & Wide Bay edition to launch in 2022 will include the Rockhampton, Emerald, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Gympie regions.