The Lockyer & Somerset Independent is a free newspaper published every Wednesday, with a circulation of 15,000 copies.
Delivered to over 240 high traffic distribution points, this newspaper covers a geographical area from Withcott to Blacksoil and Linville to Mulgowie, serving the entire Lockyer and Somerset Regions and the western fringe of Ipswich City.
The Independent is a community newspaper and is your community watchdog, telling your stories, promoting events and highlighting all of the wonderful clubs and organisations in our community.
Our slogan is ’keeping the community in community newspapers’ and we aim to do this with each week's issue.
Our mission statement: To be the essential media source of our audience, our customers and our communities by connecting them through information, news and conversation.
Meet the Team
Bruce Horrocks - General Manager and Editor
With more than 20 years’ experience in newspapers, Bruce is passionate about community newspapers and what they offer.
When Newscorp closed the print edition of the Gatton Star in 2020, the community was emphatic they wanted their local newspaper paper back.
Hence, The Lockyer & Somerset Independent was born.
Starting his career as an advertising sales rep at the Gatton Star in 1990 and working his way up to manager, Bruce has seen the highs and the lows of the industry.
As an elected representative of Queensland Country Press Association executive committee, Bruce is regularly in contact with other newspaper proprietors and can constantly keep abreast of changing industry trends.
He is committed to providing the region with a strong voice.
As a born and bred local, Bruce knows what is important to the region and its people.
This is central to The Independent’s mission.
Grace Crichton - Journalist
Grace began her journalism career with The Independent in November 2020.
Prior to this, she was office manager of The Gatton Star for two years where she learned about the industry and was reacquainted with community.
Grace grew up in Gatton where she attended Gatton State School and Lockyer District High School before moving to Brisbane in 2009.
She attended Queensland University of Technology where she studied Advertising and Creative Industries. She returned to her hometown in 2017.
Grace holds an Undergraduate Certificate of Society and Culture Studies from the University of Southern Queensland.
She has a love for the arts and is a member of Lockyer Regional Performing Arts and Esk Community Choir.
Jacob Hayden - Journalist
Jacob began his career as a journalist in the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions in early 2022 after graduating from his Bachelor of Journalism and Arts degree in 2021 at the University of Queensland.
He was thrown straight into the fire with the February 2022 floods, the biggest news event in the region since 2011, just three weeks into the job.
Since then Jacob has taken to the job and enjoys meeting people in the community, snapping photos, and learning about the rich history and culture of The Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions.
Jacob won third place in the 2023 Queensland Country Press Association Awards for Young Journalist of the Year.
Jesse Hamilton - Journalist
Jesse started with The Lockyer and Somerset Independent in early 2023
He graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Communication and Journalism in 2022.
He has a strong interest in sports and loves writing human interest stories.
Jesse views journalism as an essential tool that should give the voiceless a voice and bring attention to injustice.
He enjoys meeting people in the community and giving them a platform to be heard.
Claire Morris - Advertising Sales Representative
Claire has two decades of media experience in print, radio, and television. She began her media career with 4GR CFM in Toowoomba, firstly in traffic before transitioning to sales and expanding to TV.
Her print career as an advertising sales representative encompassed The Toowoomba Chronicle and The Gatton Star and she was the group sales manager of The Western Star (Roma), The Western Times (Charleville), and Balonne Beacon (St George).
Claire joined The Independent in November 2023 and is enjoying reacquainting herself with the Lockyer Valley and Somerset communities. Claire values building strong relationships with her clients and promoting their businesses to readers.
She prioritises collaborations between the advertising and editorial departments to deliver a quality product that readers will love and advertisers value. Claire works closely with her clients to find the best tailored advertising solutions to meet their needs.
Michele McCoombes - Sales Representative
Michele has been in the newspaper industry for over 20 years.
She has a passion for print and particularly community newspapers and was very sad to see the closing of so many papers across Queensland in 2020.
Michele has been involved with The Independent for the last 3 years and has found it to be a great voice for the Community.