The past two weeks has been days of frenzy in Dunedin and Queenstown, New Zealand.
The two cities are where a newspaper war between New Zealand’s oldest paper, the Otago Daily Times, and the publishers of Mountain Scene, is taking place.
Mountain Scene is launching a free tabloid in Dunedin called DScene. The weekly, which I designed with the help of its Design Editor Orlagh Reidy, will be a 64-page full-colour tab plus a 16-page real estate pullout.
In a tit-for-tat measure, Otago Daily Times launched its own tabloid in Queenstown to compete with Mountain Scene about five weeks ago.
Queenstown Times is a thrice-weekly tabloid of just 8 pages and in black and white. It is distributed free with ODT but can also be bought for 50 cents a copy – versus Mountain Scene’s full-colour, 64-page paper which is distributed free every Friday.
For its launch promotions, DScene has been flooding Dunedin with D-Day posters, flyers and leaflets. Dozens of promoters on fashionable Segway transporters have been distributing D-Day postcards in the city. The entire promotional activities culminate with a launch party on May 30 at Dunedin’s iconic town square, the Octagon, and a party to which its rivals have been invited.
DScene is edited by Garry Ferris, formerly editor of Mountain Scene, and a very experienced journalist who worked on Fairfax’s Sydney 2000 Olympics team, and also the Daily Telegraph in Sydney.
Dunedin has been a one-paper town for as long as one remembers, and so the city’s residents will be in for a surprise when the vibrant and colourful tabloid hits the streets on May 30. DScene will be called a magapaper because it intends to be a newspaper with a magazine bent.
The newspaper war is best encapsulated in the following radio clip on Dunedin’s Nation radio. Click and listen: Nation Radio Clip
Here are some pages from the first edition which hit the streets at 5 am Dunedin time, on Friday May 30.