The Warwick Daily News keeping you informed for 150 years
DESPITE predictions which began a quarter of a century ago that newspapers would be replaced by digital media they continue to thrive - and there is no better example than the Warwick Daily News, which, under that and other mastheads, has served this region for 150 years this November.
The precursors of the Daily News were the Warwick Argus, launched in 1864 and the Warwick Examiner and Times, dating from 1867.
In February 1919 the decision was made to merge the two publications into one, under the new masthead of the Warwick Daily News, to be published Monday through to Saturday, reflecting the growing importance of Warwick as a commercial centre in the post-war era.
The link through it all was the Irwin family, who had owned the Examiner and Times and continued as co-owners of the new paper along with the Dunn family, whom they eventually bought out for 7500 pounds in 1936. The announcement was made in these terms in the first edition of the new publication:
During this week of 1919 both Warwick bi-weeklies, the Warwick Argus and the Warwick Examiner and Times, carried this notice in their final two issues:
"The proprietors of the Warwick Argus and the Warwick Examiner and Times, the two oldest bi-weekly newspapers in Queensland, have pleasure in announcing that they have arranged to amalgamate their existing business as newspaper proprietors and jobbing printers, and that on Saturday next, February 1, the publication will commence of an 8-page penny daily newspaper, to be known as the Warwick Daily News.
"They have for some time recognised that the interests of Warwick and district can be much better served by an up-to-date daily newspaper, with a very large circulation assured, than by two bi-weekly papers which leave the town and district without any local paper on Friday of each week.
"The amalgamation provides for the establishment of a daily paper for Warwick, the Southern and South-Western divisions of the Darling Downs, on lines which will make it one of the biggest and best provincial dailies in the State.
"Arrangements have been made for a cablegram service equal to that of metropolitan papers and also a complete service of Queensland and interstate telegrams.
"The price of the paper is one penny, or seven shillings and six pence a quarter.
"A modern job printery has also been established in the building of the Warwick Examiner and Times."
The Irwin family continued its lengthy association with the Daily News until the late 1980s, when the title was purchased by the Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN) group. But at the end of the day, it remains a local masthead which retains its own identity and purpose, which is to tell the stories of Warwick and surrounding communities, and to support local groups and events.
Today, the Daily News employs around two dozen staff in a variety of roles, from journalists and sub-editors to advertising sales consultants and administrative personnel.
As well as the Monday to Saturday editions of the Daily, we also publish the Southern Downs Weekly, the Bush Telegraph, our monthly Lifestyle magazine and countless special publications ranging from tourism and restaurant guides, festival programs for the rodeo and other major events, real estate and school publications such as Making The Grade.
We also manage our online and Facebook presence on a daily basis, using those channels to alert our readers to breaking news and as a public information service about events and weather updates.
As if that were not enough, we also have financial and editorial responsibility for the Stanthorpe Border Post, which has proudly served the Granite Belt for more than 140 years.
The daily miracle of a newspaper starts with the layout, which goes live on our production system every morning, with the advertisements for the day showing up. Others can be slotted in during the day if late sales are made.
From there it's a case of the editorial team sitting down of a morning and planning the day's story coverage, after which our reporters hit the streets.
Once stories are written, they are checked over by the sub-editing team, then slotted on a page for final checking by the editor, who typesets the pages - and then it's over to the print site in Toowoomba to work their magic. The finished product heads back to Warwick in the wee hours of the morning in the back of a truck, and so begins the complicated task of distributing the newspaper across the region, by a network of carriers, agents and sub-agents.
And of course, our "throwers" who deliver to the lawns of our subscribers.
These days, readers can also access the Daily News electronically on their phone or tablet with our e-paper edition.
General manager Bruce Partridge said the founders of Warwick's first newspaper did it to give locals a point of community and now, 150 years later, the Daily News has 17,000 readers each week.
"As well as newspaper readers we have around 40,000 readers of our news website each month, our Facebook is 'liked' by over 5500 people," Mr Partridge said.
"Those pioneers could never have imagined those numbers of people. Nor could they have imagined that Warwick would have around over 100 community groups most of whom we sponsor or support.
"Community groups receive nearly $200,000 worth of free advertising and support across our region. Many of these groups also get promoted across the APN Network, bringing much-needed tourists to our events.
"The Daily News and APN Print are worth over $5 million to the local economy - every one of our news services is the leader in their market.
"Our 23 employees continue to support the region financially and with news that is aimed at informing, entertaining and growing Warwick's growth.
"Advertisers now have a choice of 17,000 readers in the Daily, around 20,000 readers in the Southern Downs Weekly down as far as Tenterfield, or our 40,000 plus digital readers - your choice for your business."