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18 December, 2020

The Cairns Local News Success story

AS 2020 draws to a close, the team at Cairns Local News are celebrating three months in print, since the first edition was published on Friday, September 18, and six months since the first stories were published online in July.

By Tanya Murphy

CAIRNS LOCAL NEWS TEAM: Business marketing manager Steve Andrews, administration officer Lisa Harris, journalist Tanya Murphy, business marketing manager Kath MacLean, business marketing manager Denis Olsson, and editor Peter McCullagh at the Cairns Local News office. (Absent) freelance journalist Nicole Gibson, graphic designer Michele Jules.

Cairns Local News (CLN) was started by three friends – Cairns local Peter McCullagh, Mareeba local Carl Portella, and website developer Lukas White from Melbourne.

CLN editor Peter McCullagh is a Cairns local of ten years and has worked in marketing and communications for nearly 40 years including in newspaper, television, radio, magazines, digital and consulting positions up and down the East Coast of Australia.

Peter spent many years working for a major multinational publisher, planning and producing many of their publications. This experience and understanding of publishing and readership steers much of the look and feel of Cairns Local News.

He ran the communications team at Cassowary Coast Regional Council for 18 months prior to teaming up with Mr Portella to start CLN.

“A community newspaper is an invaluable service which gives locals in our community a genuine reputable voice and provides a medium for the stories that the community wants to be told,” he said.

“Cairns, this is your paper. Our team are long-term locals who live in the community, who listen to what the community want to see in their paper. We hope to portray a wide range of viewpoints in response to the community’s beliefs and needs.

“CLN also creates healthy competition by providing an alternative to the other major newspaper in Cairns, and provides affordable advertising opportunities to help local businesses.

“So far we’ve had an amazing response from the community, who have really embraced the paper, and it’s only been a matter of months, so we’re looking forward to growing even more in 2021.”

“With an extensive distribution area, covering Cooktown to Cassowary Coast, CLN is rapidly becoming the source of community stories for thousands of Far North Queenslanders.

“A strong feature of CLN and a core value for the paper is a dedication to positively showcasing our region, the people and their stories.”

 Mr Portella, who has lived in Mareeba since the age of four, worked for the Tablelands Advertiser for 15 years including five years as the manager, before leaving to start Mareeba Express.

Within a few years, the Advertiser and all other News Limited community newspapers in the region closed down. But the Express has continued to grow, expanding from a circulation of 9000 papers to just under 15,000 and doubling their staff this year.

The closure of News Limited’s ‘Cairns Sun’ in recent years left the Cairns community without a free community newspaper. Due to the popularity of the Express across the region, Mr Portella started to receive requests to start a similar free independent community newspaper in Cairns.

“The success of the Express while several other newspapers owned by a multinational corporation have closed down in recent years, proves there is a big demand for free, locally and independently-owned community newspapers with a focus on ‘local people, local stories,’” he said.

The CLN office will be closed from Saturday December 19 and reopen on Monday January 4, however the editor Peter McCullagh can be contacted on his mobile for the full duration of the period, on 0478 413 627.

CLN will continue to publish news articles on the website daily, in addition to publishing a digital-only edition each week.

CLN wishes all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy  New Year!

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