Fast-growing regional news publisher Today Group celebrated the launch of its newest title this week by printing it on its own press.
The group has acquired News Corp Australia’s Rockhampton, Queensland, print centre – which closed last June – together with its six-tower, two-folder Manugraph press and Müller Martini inserting equipment.
Director Bruce Ellen told GXpress that ten former News production staff have rejoined the operation, which this week printed the first edition of Ipswich News and the group’s CQ Today title.
Other titles including Noosa Today – published by director Paul Thomas’ Star News Group, and currently trucked up from an ACM print site in NSW – will be moved progressively to the plant.
“We’re delighted to have been printing our own work on our own press this week, and will be offering print services to other publishers in Queensland,” Ellen said.
“The Rockhampton centre is halfway between Brisbane and Townsville, and with backloading plentiful, will be an attractive option for publishers as News Corp sites become increasingly busy.”
Operations manager Wayne Layt, who worked at the Morning Bulletin and APN Print for 20 years, said staff were very happy to be back at work. “It's their trade and they're happy to be doing it again," he said.
"It's been a big effort to get the site back up and running after it was closed for nine months, but the presses are finally running in Rockhampton."
News is in the process of moving all its southeast Queensland production to Yandina on the Sunshine Coast, ahead of closing its 30-year-old Murarrie print centre in suburban Brisbane.
Opened in 2008 – and the host of a SWUG conference in 2013 – Rockhampton is one of six print centres built or upgraded by APN Print under Brian Hood starting in 2006. Bundaberg (closed 2011), Ballina (press moved to Warwick then closed last year), Rockhampton and Toowoomba (closed 2020) all had Manugraph Cityline presses and Alphaliner inserters.
The Goss Community in Mackay was upgraded as part of the 2006 project and later closed, while the new hybrid heatset-coldset site at Yandina – anchored on manroland Regioman/Uniset and Ferag equipment – has been retained by News.
Today Group now has eight weekly newspapers in Queensland, based on Noosa, Warwick and Stanthorpe, Kingaroy, Gympie, Rockhampton and Gladstone, Bundaberg and Ipswich. Most have been launched in the last year.
Pictured (from top): Paul Thomas, operations manager Wayne Layt and Bruce Ellen;
Ricky Lillywhite, Wes Tomlinson, Jim Saint, Phillip Rowland, Wayne Layt, Bruce Ellen and Mark Crager;
Bruce Ellen (left) with Wayne Layt, Mark Crager and Wes Tomlinson (Photos: Today Print).
Below: Single Width Users’ Group members tour the Rockhampton site in 2013 (Photo: GXpress.net).