A life dedicated to the fight for regional press

Apr 12, 2024 at 11:44 am by admin

A funeral last Friday celebrated the life of industry stalwart Bruce Ellen, who died on March 27, following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 65.

Ellen who was general manager of the Latrobe Valley Express and a founding director of the growing Today regional newspaper group, was awarded life membership of Country Press Australia in 2022.

A former president of both Country Press Australia and the Victorian Country Press Association, he is credited with a pivotal role in securing $50 million of PING government funding and the release of $5 million from the Innovation Fund. He led the regional industry’s voice to the ACCC and federal government on digital platforms and was one of the architects of the deals CPA struck with Google and Meta under the News Media Bargaining Code.

In discussions and negotiations with the communications minister recently, he helped achieve the $15 million regional and local newspaper publishers programme.

When asked how the government could help regional publishers during the COVID-10 pandemic, he sought advertising support, obtaining regular double pages for regional papers and the current ongoing backing.

Bruce Ellen grew up in a newspaper family, as publishers of the Midland Express and Castlemaine Mail newspapers in central Victoria – where he was a fierce advocate for improved infrastructure and services – and as general manager of the Latrobe Valley Express and Gippsland Times.

He was also a passionate and knowledgable supporter of regional print production, having only recently upgraded the Express Print site in Morwell.

He was president of VCPA from 1998-2000 and a director of Country Press Co-operative from 2003-2016. More recently he served as president of Country Press Australia from 2019-2021 after joining that board in 2016, leading it through the organisation’s most critical period.

“His leadership, wisdom and willingness to dedicate his own time in the service of both CPA and VCPA are testament to his character and integrity,” CPA president Andrew Schreyer and VCPA chairman Jared Loughnan said in a joint statement.

“His passion and belief in regional papers saw Bruce as a director and shareholder in the Today group that has brought new life to newspapers in communities across regional Queensland and South Australia.

“He was immensely proud of his role in bringing regional public interest journalism back to regional communities. He played a pivotal role in acquiring a press site in Rockhampton and growing and building that business.

“Bruce was also a generous sponsor and supporter of many industry events and functions. Bruce was much loved by all his industry colleagues. His warmth, generosity, humility, and appreciation for the efforts of those around him were characteristics that endeared him to everyone fortunate to know him.

“Beyond his professional endeavours, Bruce was a devoted family man, deeply committed to his children, Ashleigh and Nick and spent most of his weekends when they were growing up following their passions of motorsport and horse show events.

“Bruce loved summers water skiing with his family and friends in Echuca, had a massive passion with collecting cars and enjoyed trips overseas with his mates.

With industry colleague Chris McPherson (McPherson Media), Bruce helped to establish Biggest Ever Blokes’ Lunches in regional Victoria, helping raise money for prostate cancer. He loved these events for their fellowship and camaraderie.

Members of the VCPA offered their deepest sympathies and best wishes to his wife Chris, children Nick and Ashleigh and their families, including Bruce’s mother Dorothy, and his brothers Tim and Graeme and their families.

Pictured (second left): Bruce Ellen receives the CPA life membership in 2022, with Andrew Manuel, Paul Thomas and Andrew Schreyer (Photo David Ward/Warracknabeal Herald).

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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