I'm delighted to welcome a new, totally independent monthly street press, called The Place, as it hits the streets of Cairns and surrounding towns today.
Daniel Sorenson is taking on the Cairns Post's TimeOUT head on, with the launch of his new tabloid-sized arts and entertainment newspaper.
"It's been awhile between drinks since Cairns had it's own free and independent street press," Sorenson says.
"Those who remember Barfly know full well the invaluable contribution such a publication makes to the local scene. The reception has been amazing, and we have got a lot of support," says Sorenson who has been producing a Townsville version since last year.
10,000 copies of the May issue are being distributed from today at venues and cafes around Cairns, Innisfail, Port Douglas and the Tablelands.
The domination of NewsLTD's Cairns Post publications in the tourist, entertainment and real estate markets, is difficult to come up against, however, like online news, these once bastions of following, are being challenged and the rules re-written. So many are now seeking alternative information from other sources. People are sick of a factory-produced dumbed-down news services.
Such monopoly, is being eroded away with the advent of popular online sites popping up providing community news and information about local gigs and events.
'The Place' is similar in format to Barfly that graced bars and cafes around Cairns from 1990 to 2005, and will aim to gain a loyal following from readers and advertisers alike.
The first 24-page issue contains a series of interviews and music, movie and arts reviews including promoters that are running events in both Townsville and Cairns. There's a news desk', 'disk news', and tour bus' page with everything that is not published in other newspapers. A comprehensive gig guide and also a photo page appears.
I caught up with the paper's manager Daniel Sorenson and advertising co-ordinator Chris Hayes, at the Pier Bar last evening over a beer and a game of pool.
"There are three weeklies and one monthly such papers in South East Queensland," Daniel says. "One has been around for 30 years, and it's no wonder, a publication, independent of of a larger media company is a refreshing thing and usually enjoys loyal readers."
"Advertising is of course vital to the success," says Chris, who also puts some of the articles together. "We want to encourage more of a sense of community between Townsville and Cairns in the entertainment area."
Already, the re-branded Zinc 102.7 radio station has got behind the new venture, running a regular entertainment update on air every Thursday and Friday morning, put together from contributors at The Place.
Local Snake Gully musician and respected journalist Tony Hillier, welcomes the new independent newspaper.
"If they are serious about covering local entertainment and alternative music, then I wish them the very best," Hillier says. "I know the effort that goes into this, and the key is distribution, making it visible."
Hillier was a key figure in the 15 year reign of Barfly and bought to it a unique mix of music and a skill for the written word to the publication that was a Cairns institution.
If you have a venue and would like to have copies available for your customers, get in touch with Chris.
CairnsBlog is looking to support The Place with a regular column, so stay tuned. I wish Daniel, Chris and all the team, every success for this exciting addition to our stable of local independent media. It's not before time.