Mount Gambier gets its paper back, while others find ways of thriving

More good news on the print edition front is that independent South Australian masthead The Border Watch is coming back after closing last month with the loss of 38 jobs.

The Mount Gambier paper's website announces that it will resume printing on October 16, with former editor Brett Kennedy back in the chair as managing editor, alongside "several of the old guard".

A partnership of independent newspaper proprietors from South Australia and Victoria are behind the revival, one of them reported to be Shepparton News publisher McPherson Media.

Although it will start as a paid-sale weekly newspaper with a website, there are plans to add a second edition, once the paper is re-established, and to also resume printing of the South Eastern Times.

Meanwhile, the issue of print options is still being canvassed around the country following the closure of a number of News Corp and Australian Community Media print sites.

Driving up the NSW coast recently, industry commentator Andy McCourt noticed the established Across the Fence, a 24-page A4 monthly for the small community of Nabiac, "chock-a-block full of ads and great local stories".

We looked it up online, where PDFs going back to May 2017 are posted, and especially liked Hillside Critic's piece in the 'Real Kultcha' section: "Is the lock-down starting to get to you? Well, it is to me and it's not in a pretty sight. We can't visit anybody and nobody is visiting us," they write. "In fact, I think The Child Bride and I are so far off everybody's 'must visit' list that our only hope of contact with anybody will be if one of The Lost Tribes Of Israel stumbles across us!"

Andy McCourt - who would know about such things - reckons its 1100-copy print run had been produced on an A3 toner device, "folded and saddle stitched".

"Is this the future of regional and community newspapers now News Corp has bailed," he asks?

Nearer to GX's Queensland home, the revived Cooroy Rag has produced its second now-monthly edition, resplendent with 40 tabloid pages and a 58 per cent ad ratio.

Nicely printed by News Corp's soon-to-be-very-busy Yandina print centre, it carries a reminder of the days when production wasn't so simple.

Edna Smith who owned the paper briefly from 1969-70, tells how its 120 copies were then produced on an 'electric printer': "We used to just tell it how many pages we want - usually about eight pages back and front, so four pieces of foolscap.

"Then the cream carrier would take it out to people on the farms with their mail."

The 91-year-old is pictured in the latest issue with editor Alex Purcell.

• We're still keen to hear of new newspaper launches and their progress, and would publish a running list if readers would help us make it authoritative. Email me at mpcmedia@ozemail.com.au

Also on this theme, News Corp is continuing its programme of regional news sites with new mastheads in Victoria and NSW. Launched on September 14 were the Mildura News - covering the former Sunraysia Daily heartland - and Dubbo News, both behind rigid paywalls. The digital sites are part of News' Leader Community News business, with Michael DiFabrizio in Mildura and Ryan Young in Dubbo.

• Yet another competitive foray from News is the new Goulburn Valley News, for which journalist Madi Chwasta has been recruited from the established Shepparton News and ABC Radio Melbourne.

Peter Coleman

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