Independent regional publisher Today News Group has announced plans to launch an Alice Springs paper, filling the void left by News Corp’s closure of the Centralian Advocate.
The group says Centralian Today will publish weekly in print and be supported by an online news service from late August. Today has not confirmed print logistics but it is likely that the paper will be produced at its print centre in Rockhampton, Queensland, 2500 km and a 26-hour road trip away.
News Corp Australia’s Advocate print edition closed in 2020. It had been printed at News’ plant in Darwin and trucked the 1500 kilometres to the ‘Red Centre’ since the Goss Community-equipped Alice Springs plant was shut down.
The online Alice Springs News – which began as a printed newspaper in 1994 – closed its digital site last year, “succumbing to the loss of advertising revenue, much of it now flowing to American social media”. It stopped printing in 2011.
Today News Group director Damian Morgan says the launch of Centralian Today follows an approach by “concerned citizens” in Alice Springs and a meeting with the local mayor.
“We believe if we do it right, there is an opportunity and a great need for a newspaper to come back to Central Australia,” he said.
He believed the paper would be sustainable in the long term: “If we can earn the respect of the people of Central Australia, I'm confident we can make this a viable proposition moving forward.
“We need to produce objective, apolitical news with a hyper-local mantra.”
The new publication will be paid-sale – following the model of other Today mastheads with the exception of the free-distribution Noosa Today – with a $4 cover price. The launch is expected to create “up to six local jobs, including two to three journalists”.
Pictured: Production at the Rockhampton print centre which Today bought from News Corp Australia