Westport News office in former BNZ building
|Type||Monday-Friday daily newspaper|
|Headquarters||Westport, New Zealand|
The Westport News is an independently-owned evening newspaper published in Westport, New Zealand. It is published on weekdays, and is one of New Zealand's smallest independent newspapers. The Westport News is distributed from Karamea in the north to Punakaiki in the south and as far inland as Reefton.
The Westport News began as a tri-weekly paper in the earliest days of European settlement in 1871, a decade after the arrival of the first gold miners. It was initially printed on demy sheets. In April 1889 it was bought by Robert Reid, owner of the Greymouth Star, and enlarged to a double demy daily morning paper. Reid (and increasingly his wife Emma) ran the paper, until his death in March 1897. The News was then puchased by Boundy & Co., who sold it to Walter Atkin, former editor of the Lyell Times and Grey Valley Times, on 4 April 1898.Sherman Stachan became editor of the paper in 1899.
More than a dozen local newspapers were published in the West Coast in the 20th century, but the Westport News, Hokitika Guardian, and Greymouth Star were the only ones still operating in the 21st. The News published as a daily until 6 July 1961, when it was closed by its Christchurch owners. The Lucas family of Nelson, owners of the Nelson Evening Mail, immediately bought the paper and continued printing the next day. The printing of the paper now took place in Nelson, with copy wired from Westport by teleprinter and the papers flown from Nelson. Golden Coast Airways was formed to enable this, flying a twin-engined Aero Commander to Westport each weekday; the plane appearing over the main street told people the News was on its way. This arrangement continued until 1978, even while Westport was temporarily isolated by the 1968 Inangahua earthquake.
Following the earthquake the BNZ vacated their building on Wakefield Street. Later the Westport News bought it, and still operates for there. In 1978 Colin Warren, who had started at the News as a journalist in 1966, purchased the paper with his wife Mary from the Lucas family. He continued as owner, and later "editor-at-large", for nearly 40 years. Warren moved the printing of the paper back to Westport, initially on a sheet-fed printer, then reel-fed, to the current multi-unit press with colour printing. In August 2017 chief reporter Lee Scanlon and her husband Kevin purchased the paper from the Warrens. Scanlon, who prefers the title "chief reporter" to editor, had been at the News for over 40 years.
The News has a mixture of local, national, and international news, and a copy-sharing arrangement with RNZ. There is a total staff of 15; aside from Scanlon, there are three other journalists, one of them the writer Becky Manawatu. Ellen Curnow joined as a reporter in November 2019.
The newspaper reported on the opening of the West Coast railway during Premier Richard Seddon's first official visit to the region in May 1883. It also described how Seddon allowed the mining town Seddonville to be named after him. Almost a century later, it reported on the paving of the new Buller Bridge in November 1976.Otago University holds an archive of the newspaper from 1982 to 1991.