‘We do this because we love it’: Outback Queensland newspaper to relaunch under new ownership

A nearly 100-year-old newspaper in regional Queensland will relaunch under new ownership two months after being suspended.

Key points:The Longreach Leader was suspended in October, just shy of its 100th birthdayNew owners The Today News Group will relaunch it in DecemberDirector Damian Morgan is confident the paper will make money

Longreach's weekly newspaper, The Longreach Leader, was suspended in October due to unsustainable costs.

The publication's former owner, The Longreach Printing Company Ltd, said at the time advertising revenue was "continually shrinking", and the company was "losing money weekly".

The 98-year-old paper will now resume printing in the first week of December, under new owners Today News Group.

The group of independent publishers has revived eight newspapers across regional Queensland in the last year, including Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

The group's director Damian Morgan said reviving the Leader was a "big responsibility".

"It has played a very important role for the local community," Mr Morgan said.

"That's something we take on with a sense of privilege and a sense of pride.

"We're committed to making sure we have the local community front and centre."

A man sitting behind a newsagent's counter reads a newspaper.
Newsagent Doug Winterbotham has sold The Longreach Leader for more than 37 years.(ABC Western Qld: Ellie Grounds)

Longreach supermarket owner Rose Leggett said she was excited to share the good news with her customers.

"[You can] definitely tell that they've missed having it," she said.

"I often hear comments on a Friday, which was when it was available: 'Yeah, oh that's right, we can no longer get it.'

"The new owners will be welcomed with very wide arms open." 

New owners confident paper will be profitable

Mr Morgan said he was confident his group would be able to run the paper at a profit.

"We wouldn't do it if we thought we were going to lose money," he said.

"We're not going to go and live in Monaco on the profits.

"We do this because we love it, but we wouldn't love it if we couldn't make a dollar out of it."

The price of the weekly paper will rise from $2 to $3.

A man sits at an outdoor cafe table reading a newspaper. A woman walks past and taps him on the shoulder to say hello.
The Longreach Leader, which was suspended in October, will relaunch in December under new ownership.(ABC Western Qld: Ellie Grounds)

Mr Morgan said the key to the newspaper's success would be strong local journalism, which would be showcased in a thicker newspaper. 

"There is a role for that once-a-week journal of record: this is what has happened in this part of the world," he said.

"We want to broaden, if we can, the coverage by tapping into some community groups who have lost a voice potentially … and we can give that voice back."

He said an improved online presence would also be at the core of the Leader's revival.

"Digital is essential moving forward, and for breaking news, you can't beat real-time publishing of news onto a phone or a computer."

Posted 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 3:09am, updated 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 4:09amShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp

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