Journalist and publisher Di Morrissey with her newspaper.

Ten years ago, not long after the Rural Press group of newspapers was bought out by Fairfax Media, novellist Di Morrissey left her home in Byron Bay for the quieter Manning Valley on NSW's mid-north coast, near where she was born.

At first, she thought the local papers serving her region were doing a great job, but -- as with many of those regional papers owned by Fairfax -- they increasingly became less community watchdogs and more a vehicle for press releases as they dealt with sustained cuts.