In mid 2001, a group of experienced Brisbane journalists saw the need for a regular community paper for those who lived near, or worked in Brisbane’s city heart. They launched The Independent in August that year, and are now proud to claim that no other community newspaper comes close in providing quality, relevant community news to both city workers and those who live in the CBD, Spring Hill, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Teneriffe, Newstead, Bowen Hills, Kangaroo Point and South Bank.
It might sound a little old-fashioned, but those journalists wanted to produce a community newspaper that provided just that – news for the local community it served. They did not want The Independent to be a paper covering a mass of northern suburbs, with only limited news of interest to the quickly growing inner-suburbs. Nor did they want it to be a city-based paper focusing more and more narrowly on the young office worker.
They are justly proud of the strong support the paper has garnered from the community over that time, and its reputation as a publication that has fiercely - should that be independently? - argued the public case on a number of important issues, even if it risked offending some of our advertisers. We railed against the lengthy delays on the Fortitude Valley railway station upgrade, the state government's North Bank plans, and the loss of riverwalk in front of Mirvac's Waterfront project at Newstead, to name a few.
That philosophy has seen The Independent become a must-read for local residents, businesspeople and city workers.
And when a paper is being read for its well-researched, topical articles, that’s good news for advertisers too.
Add to that the paper’s very competitive advertising rates and its coverage of the CBD workforce as well as those who live, work and play in the city centre and the Urban Renewal growth spots that surround it, and it all adds up to The Independent representing the perfect advertising vehicle.
1. We try to steer clear of celebrities. Okay, we’ve had maybe one pollie and one TV personality on our cover over the years, but as a general rule we prefer to run pictures of a local emerging artist, or plug a charity or similar not-for-profit organisation. Often it’s just a colourful character ... or just some ordinary person doing extraordinary things.
2. If we have a page with a news strap on the top, we’ll run news on it. Not some plug for an advertiser.
3. We refuse to run pages that are thinly disguised advertorials for the latest fads and fashions, cosmetics or the latest electronic gismos.
4. We devote that space to our review pages that give our readers the latest in movies, theatre and music, what’s fit to drink and what’s worth hoping on a plane and seeing around the world.
5. Well-read columnists such as Ann Brunswick, astrologer Horace Cope and political guru Mungo MacCullum add spice to the Indie and make people want to pick it up. We hold to this silly old-fashioned view that if the paper’s worth reading, that’s good for advertisers too!
6. The Indie has won two Community Action Network awards over the years for improving the social capital of, and fostering social justice in, the great local community we’re proud to be part of. So maybe that’s 6 and 7?