The Guardian has this morning launched its local edition, Guardian Australia.
Following months of speculation about a launch date, plus a headline grabbing recruitment drive, editor-in-chief Katherine Viner (pictured) has announced that Guardian Australia website is now live.
Viner stated Guardian Australia will offer Australian readers a fresh perspective on Australian and world news, by stimulating “thought-provoking debate by placing readers at the heart of the discussion, enabling Australians to engage in the broader world in which we live and connecting some of the best writers in Australia with the best of the Guardian’s global journalism”.
Guardian Australia is based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, just around the corner from rival News Limited, and is expected to bring increased competition into the news market currently dominated by News Limited and Fairfax.
Nielsen figures from April show that more than 1.1 million Australians are already regular readers of the Guardian’s global website.
“The Guardian has a long established tradition of high-quality, independent journalism combining editorial integrity and journalistic innovation,” Viner added. “We already have a large and loyal Australian readership, who tell us they want more of what we do."
She added that their research indicated that Australians are looking for an alternative that is truly independent, both global and local, which offers serious reporting and lively commentary, and is all-embracing in its use of everything that the digital sphere has to offer.
“Starting today, we’ll be reporting and blogging, providing commentary, debate and community interaction, and using cutting edge data visualisation and interactive technology to engage our readers in new ways."
Guardian Australia has already recruited a number of high-profile journalists such as David Marr, Lenore Taylor and Katharine Murphy.”
The site features an exclusive video interview with Guardian Australia political editor Lenore Taylor and prime minister Julia Gillard, in which Gillard refuses to commit to her political future beyond the election.
Also launching today is Comment is Free Australia – part of its international award-winning comment site Comment is Free, and the Guardian Comment Network, featuring content partnerships with some of the leading comment and culture sites in Australia.
The Guardian has also announced that in an attempt to reposition itself as a global brand it will consolidate its digital presence around a single international URL, TheGuardian.com.