By ERWIN CHLANDA
Tomorrow the Tennant & District Times will publish its last printed edition and go exclusively online, in its 46th year of circulation.
“The future of newspapers is digital and here in Tennant Creek we’re moving with the times,” says owner and editor Natasha Hennig.
“For several years now, our online readership has been climbing steadily.”
This follows the moving exclusively online six years ago by the Alice Springs News, now in its 27th year of publication, and the closure of the Centralian Advocate.
This heralds a Murdoch-free zone for Central Australia with the Advocate relegated to a minor appendage to the Darwin based NT News.
Ms Hennig says the announcement about the Times “comes with sorrow as generations of locals have grown up reading the Tennant Times.
“We know there’ll be backlash and we will just have to cop it. If it’s any consolation, we will miss the smell of newsprint on Friday mornings too.
“The death of print editions was inevitable. The concept was declared terminal at least eight years ago and the fish-and-chip wrapping has been on life support ever since.
“We’re knocking it on the head now to be kind. We’ll be able to better use the revenue we spend on printing … on improving our online presence.
“And following Facebook’s hissy fit and a subsequent deal with the Australian Government, the social media giant has reversed its ban on news pages and restored all content.
Locals can once again keep up with the Times on Facebook.”
The Alice Springs News is one of the nation’s first online newspapers, starting in 1995, at first in parallel with its print edition.
The Tennant & District Times and the Alice Springs News are in talks about collaboration.
CORRECTION February 26, 8.20am: Actually, the Alice Springs News moved exclusively online in March 2011 (as I recall), so almost exactly a decade ago. The last print edition was published on March 11, 2011. It first went online in tandem with its print edition in 1997. We thank historian and frequent contributor Alex Nelson for this advice. ED.