Despite the big picture alternatives, News print still missed

A little like nesting boxes, a couple of new newspaper distribution points have appeared in Cooroy's Maple Street, making almost a dozen in less than 150 metres.

Welcome to town Issue 3 of Eumundi Voice, a stitched and tightly-trimmed 32-page A5 booklet which claims - and looks for volunteers to help with - delivery of 4600 copies fortnightly.

Published by Eumundi Rotary Initiatives, it's yet another community publication looking to fill the void left by News Corp Australia's closure of more than 100 regional print editions, most of them former APN mastheads the Murdoch empire acquired only four years ago.

We've been tracking - or trying to track - the large number of new titles which have appeared around the country, but the hinterland village of Cooroy - where GXpress gets groceries and coffee - is a microcosm of its own.

Since the demise (sorry 'pivot to digital') of News' free-distribution Noosa News, Victorian-owned Noosa Today and the community-owned Cooroy Rag have woken from their COVID-19 slumbers, and new monthlies such as Pomona's Cooroora Connect have appeared, not to mention those in neighbouring council areas.

Which is what attracted my attention about Eumundi Voice. You see Eumundi, once best known for its Wednesday and Saturday markets, is part of the aspirational neighbouring Sunshine Coast regional council area, albeit a part which wished it could also leave when mayor (and former newspaperman) Mark Jamieson's council grudgingly handed Noosa shire back following a government-sponsored referendum.

Is this a 'cuckoo in the nest'; the spring-like first signs of a new push for territory? Maple Street shoppers, sampling the Voice from one of its two slightly rustic boxes, will find most of the content is from Eumundi, though the recently-renovated RSL club and a couple of real estate agencies are among Cooroy advertisers.

News is clearly an evolving commodity, and no editor is named, only the enigmatic 'Creative Frog' as graphic designer, and there's a plug for the "writers and proof readers' group" if you reckon you could do better, presumably as a volunteer.

I liked the item about the crane: a couple of dozen words and distant picture on someone having a pool installed, and then, 'overnight it was gone'.

It may be gratis, but feel free to say so if you're not satisfied, as a Noosa Today reader does this week, complaining the pictures are too big and the stories too long, and blaming it on the lack of competition.

And yes, I'd admit to missing Noosa News myself, though it had deteriorated somewhat with the change of ownership. By the way, distribution boxes for it are still in the street. Can't comment on the digital version, since a rigid paywall - and a black mark awarded by News' call-centre after the very persistent efforts I needed to make to to cancel my Courier-Mail subscription last year - mean I can't access it.

News claim a great success, and took me to task when I qualified their reported subscriptions growth with the word "only" in June, and will share learnings from the move with members in an upcoming INMA webinar. A shame, nonetheless, that they chose to kill what was clearly a viable business in the process.

Peter Coleman

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