November 28th, 2021Kyle’s Rant
THE world of digital news combined with the pandemic has not been too kind on traditional community newspapers, who have been slow to change their ways and have as a result perished or become solely digital in the new media landscape.
The great news is that your community newspaper was first dragged into the printing press over eight years ago our fledgling enterprise The Local was at the coalface of the “mum and pop” rise of community newspapers. Born from hard times where disgruntled journalists and photographers were left high and dry, flung out onto the streets by the big corporations who were simply chasing profits, not public interest news gathering.
These people have created just south of 80 newspapers around the country, news organisations like ours that live and breathe community news and bring it to you for free. I have watched many a failed stratagem by news corporations over my relatively short 15-year career in the industry to save print money and encourage readership into the digital space.
But here at TL HQ we ploughed on in print creating a pretty incredible website along the way, which moving forward as the world comes to, will host all the sports results not just seniors’ football as well as all community events and all for free.
And then this week we received the following from our printer:
As you may have read in the media last week, the only Australian‐based newsprint supplier, Norske Skog, has advised customers that they will be breaking existing supply contracts and increasing the cost of newsprint almost immediately. We have been presented with non‐negotiable price increases effective from November 15, 2021. The increases are between 19-25 per cent dependent on the newsprint grade.
To put that into perspective this is a 25 per cent rise in our print costs after what has been a ‘kick in the arse’ couple of years. So what are our choices? We could either load the costs to our advertisers who have endured pain like us, absorb the cost internally or wrap up the whole enterprise and take our bat and ball and walk away. I must admit the whole bat and ball thing worked for me, but the ever-tenacious editor/wife decided to absorb the cost and labour on, after all TL is her love child I simply named it.
My part in this whole plough-on thing is to invent a volunteer payment platform, as in the QR code below this column, these will be sprinkled throughout our magazine going forward. So, if you are enjoying the read while having your cup of tea, wonder how we get the crazy, weird and sometimes wacky stories, see your nearest and dearest on the page or even have a moment of philanthropic emotion for your locally produced paper that employs only locals and ties together our Central Highlands villages, please scan the code.
Tin-shaking rant over…