A SENIOR journalism academic has called on Fairfax to consider a new daily newspaper for southeast Queensland, based on the Rural Press printing works in Brisbane. Rural Press prints Queensland Country Life, the North Queensland Register, the Bayside Bulletin, the Trading Post and other commercial printing jobs at its large plant at Ormiston on Brisbane’s bayside.
Australia’s first journalism professor, John Henningham of the privately run JSchool in Brisbane, said the massive population growth in southeast Queensland provided a market that could be serviced by more than the Courier-Mail.
“There’s a growing number of people who are moving to Queensland from Sydney and Melbourne who in my view would be interested in a Fairfax-style daily newspaper,” Professor Henningham said.
Professor Henningham said one possible beachhead into the market would be a Sunday newspaper that could take on the Sunday Mail.
In the past few weeks Fairfax has beefed up its Brisbane bureau with three new journalists providing online services.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has previously called for more competition to the Courier-Mail, but yesterday he was more circumspect.
“Fairfax are not going to engage News Limited in the southeast corner outside of what they currently have,” he said. “I wish it was other than it is but it’s not.”
Mr Beattie did, however, launch a strong attack on Rural Press’s Queensland Country Life which has been a strong critic of his Government. “I have been worried for some time that our farmers have not been given a reasonable go and I hope that a (media ownership) consolidation may mean better outlets for farmers,” he said.
“Country Life now is basically a National Party newspaper and it doesn’t represent what’s happening for farmers. It’s a waste of money.”