Celebrating 100 Editions of Local Stories
This month marks the momentous occasion of The Local Times' 100th edition, and we believe it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our remarkable journey so far and unveil our future plans.
Community newspapers hold a special place in the ever-evolving media landscape, serving as the voice of neighbourhoods, fostering a sense of belonging, and keeping residents informed about local news and events.
This month marks the momentous occasion of The Local Times' 100th edition, and we believe it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our remarkable journey so far and unveil our future plans. From the beginning, our venture has been driven by unwavering community support.
Our compelling journey commenced in 2014 when a visionary team of QUT Caboolture students from the Creative Industries boldly decided to launch an A4 glossy magazine called The Narangba Voice. This magazine aimed to provide a platform for emerging talents, showcasing their exceptional work to the world. Little did we know that this humble beginning would pave the way for what The Local Times is today.
“I had never heard of 'creative industries' before. I assumed Journalism would have been in the Business faculty. Instead, I received a strong learning curve in the world of writers, musicians, designers and much more. It really opened my eyes to the world. I see and respect things now that I would have never noticed previously.”
"We had no idea what we were doing," said Katy More, Founder. "We just knew it was hard to get a creative portfolio noticed and felt we all had unique skills that could provide a solution and give us experience along the way."
"Whilst our lecturers thought it was a great concept, we didn't receive any support from the university through mentoring or paid advertising. We were very much on our own and in uncharted territory."
Exhausted from her successful but monotonous career in fee-for-service recruitment, Katy made a life-changing decision to pursue Journalism.
"I had never heard of 'creative industries' before," Katy shared. "I assumed Journalism would have been in the Business faculty. Instead, I received a strong learning curve in the world of writers, musicians, designers and much more. It really opened my eyes to the world. I see and respect things now that I would have never noticed previously."
"The challenge writers had in finding paid work without a published portfolio was raised too often for me to ignore, so I started investigating the concept of self-publishing, curious to see if I could find a workable solution."
Soon after, a wave of students eagerly stepped forward to assist in seeking a solution, representing diverse fields of study. Among the first to join the cause was Britany Maddocks, who was studying social media. Shortly after, Yacine Khouzami, a marketing student, enthusiastically followed suit. Siblings Renae and Liam Pardon brought their expertise in film to the team, adding valuable perspectives. Not much time elapsed before the group welcomed Rachel Woodcock, a skilled professional graphic designer, and Darren More, a procurement specialist, who eagerly joined their ranks.
Above: The founding team of the publication now known as The Local Times Newspaper
"I remember going to a business for the first time to try and get advertising," said Darren More, Katy's husband and current Editor of The Local Times.
"I couldn't tell them how many pages we would print. I had no sample of what it would look like, nor did I know where we would stock it or how we would distribute it, let alone how often. Yet, they thought it was a great idea and booked six months of advertising, paying up front to help us get going."
In 2014, The Narangba Voice made its debut, with the primary objective of fostering connections among the residents of Narangba through a top-notch A4 glossy magazine. The publication's mission was to offer a platform for community members to share their experiences, commemorate accomplishments, and engage in conversations about significant topics. By concentrating on Narangba initially, the magazine established a robust support base and dedicated readership, earning a reputation as a trusted and dependable local news and information source.
"We never imagined it would expand past Narangba," said Katy.
"For us, it was purely about providing creative students with a platform to get published. The magazine was, and still is, a portfolio of work for professional and amateur creatives."
"As the magazine continued to thrive, we took on a slightly more professional masthead, rebranding to Our Narangba Magazine in 2015."
With the rising popularity of Our Narangba Magazine, its reach expanded rapidly, prompting numerous requests for the distribution and inclusion of stories from Burpengary. Consequently, in 2016, the masthead was updated to incorporate Burpengary, leading to the birth of the magazine known as Our Narangba and Burpengary Magazine.
"The inclusion of Burpengary allowed the publication to foster stronger connections within the region," said Darren.
"By encompassing both Narangba and Burpengary, the magazine showcased shared interests, concerns, and aspirations, further solidifying its position as a true community publication."
Shortly after, Kallangur residents began expressing their desire to be part of and receive the magazine. Since all the funds generated from paid advertisements were reinvested in producing more copies for Burpengary, creating an Our Narangba, Burpengary, and Kallangur Magazine was considered too challenging.
Nevertheless, due to the persistent requests for expanded coverage in Kallangur, the team took decisive action and introduced a sister magazine named Our Kallangur in 2017. The primary aim was to cater to the interests of Kallangur's residents and shine a spotlight on the distinctive experiences offered by this area, which boasts a vibrant community and a unique identity.
"It didn't take long for us to realise this was too much for us," said Katy. "We simply could not produce two magazines with the team we had, so we decided to combine the two and rebrand once more to create a magazine that could cater for any suburb."
The decision to rename, this time to Feature Magazine, was driven by the recognition of the shared values and interests held by the communities along the Caboolture to Murrumba Downs corridor. The rebranding aimed to underscore the publication's mission of showcasing and honouring the area's rich diversity of communities while fostering camaraderie and unity among them.
"Showcase talent by showcasing communities was the objective of our team from the very beginning, and it still is today, although not many people see this part of our work," said Katy.
"We all felt that the masthead of Feature Magazine summed everything up nicely and revealed its new look in 2017."
Feature Magazine was the sole print community publication devoted entirely to the Caboolture to Murrumba Downs corridor for years. Its all-inclusive reporting of local news, events, and matters earned widespread backing, establishing it as an indispensable information hub for the residents in the region.
"So naturally, we received more requests. North Lakes, Mango Hill, Deception Bay and Rothwell all wanted a Feature Magazine," said Darren.
"I don't know how we pulled it off, but it had much to do with community support. By XXX we were also covering stories and distributing magazines in these areas."
By 2023, Feature Magazine played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural fabric of the Caboolture to Petrie corridor, along with North Lakes, Deception Bay, Mango Hill and Rothwell.
"As a print publication in an era dominated by digital media, its enduring presence underscores the tangible connection it establishes with its readers," said Darren.
"The team remains committed to providing in-depth stories, interviews, and reports that are relevant and engaging, serving as a unifying force within the diverse communities it represents."
The portfolio showcase achieved remarkable success, as the team of volunteers continuously evolved due to the acquisition of paid positions or students' graduation.
"Sometimes we had high school students working with us as writers, graphic designers or photographers," said Katy. "It was a great experience for them and helped them to decide if this is really want they wanted to do in the future."
Above: Juanita More with the first print copy of The Narangba Voice in 2014
and the first edition she designed of Feature Magazine in 2021.
As Katy gained more experience and improved work quality, she established connections with fellow editors in Moreton Bay. This led to the creation of a collaborative network involving local freelance creatives and editors.
"We still do this today. Our team writes for various local publications, along with some national ones. We have helped people start their publications, from school magazines to community magazines and newspapers – from consulting and training to providing content. It is a great way to form connections in the industry."
Following the discontinuation of print community newspapers in 2020, there was a growing influx of reader requests urging the production of a newspaper instead of a magazine.
"To be honest, the thought of going to the newspaper was too much for us then. We had never done a newspaper. Our magazine was well received," said Katy.
"We assumed the big guys knew what they were doing in no longer providing a print newspaper. We were wrong because we overlooked an important fact: our focus was on the showcase of locals, not how much money we could make."
"With the requests for a newspaper getting stronger over time, we decided to undergo one more change. A change to newspaper format under the masthead of The Local Times, which we released on 1 January 2023, and the community can't get enough."
The Local Times, originally named The Narangba Voice, remains steadfast in its mission. The present team continues to promote local talent and communities, offering cost-effective print advertising solutions for businesses.
"We do our best to ensure that every story is either inspirational or informative, steering clear of controversial topics," said Katy.
"Doing so ensures we continue to build up the community. If people want bad or controversial news, plenty of other forums provide it."
This edition (September 2023) is the 100th publication printed and distributed by the team of local residents committed to spreading positivity. Among the team, Darren and Katy are the sole remaining original members who continue to contribute passionately.
"Darren has been the Editor since day one. Most people have spoken to him," said Katy.
"One thing this journey has taught me is that, although I am the Founder, I am a true creative at heart and being pinned down to one position simply doesn't work for me."
"I divide my time up doing whatever is needed. Design, writing, content management, recruitment and training, and sales. I have even been known to play TV reporter for the film students when they want to cover something local."
This remarkable team's biggest challenge is keeping up with demand.
"We currently have a core team of five, all mums and dads in the local community," said Darren. "There is a lot of work behind the scenes to produce The Local Times each month, and everything we know we have learnt from the 'school of hard knocks' or retired industry professionals who have been kind enough to share their knowledge."
The Local Times team is thrilled to share that a highly experienced new Editor, Jodie Morphett, will join the ranks this next month. With a wealth of expertise, she is set to play a pivotal role in propelling the publication to new heights.
Having collaborated with Katy in past endeavours, Jodie is a familiar face to The Local Times team. Their previous joint efforts resulted in tremendous success, amplifying the thrill of partnering up again, especially with the promising future that awaits The Local Times. With the backing of Chermside-based business 3B Media, she brings valuable strength and support to the table.
“I am so excited to be coming on board. The Local Times is a much-loved, professional publication in the community and a tribute to the vision and passion of Darren, Katy and her dedicated team,” said Jodie.
Known for their monthly, glossy, A5 community magazines - Sandgate Guide, Redcliffe Guide and Chermside Guide – the 3B Media team are dedicated to showcasing the achievement and narratives of local individuals. Embarking on a journey into newspaper printing marks a fresh and thrilling addition for this small local business.
In the upcoming decade, The Local Times is poised for a bright future, as it grows its reach and delivers inspiring and enlightening articles from the local community.