This is the second instalment of a story about Di Morrissey, the best-selling author who started her own community newspaper. Read the first part here.
When Di Morrissey started The Manning Community News in 2015, her main goal was improving the quality of local news for her neighbours on NSW's mid-north coast. Her own campaign about TransGrid's plan for power lines running through her hometown in the Manning Valley didn't rate a mention in any of the local papers (previously owned by Fairfax, now owned by Nine), and she thought she could fill a gap left by the depleted papers.
Morrissey says her paper is "truly independent". She gets minimal advertising from local businesses, who mostly already had arrangements with the then-Fairfax newspapers (the paper goes out free, almost entirely funded by Morrissey herself as a "community service"). Those newspapers, a group razed under Fairfax Media's management in recent years, are mostly populated with press release rewrites and inconsequential community news.