The Local hits 300th edition & 104 pages

February 29th, 2024The Local hits 300th edition & 104 pages

February 26, 2024 is the date of the 300th edition of The Local - in print and online - celebrated with a massive 104 pages of news, features, columns and real estate.

February 26, 2024 is the date of the 300th edition of The Local – in print and online – celebrated with a massive 104 pages of news, features, columns and real estate.

The first edition of the news magazine hit the stands on September 2, 2013. It was just 20 A4 pages, printed locally, with a distribution of only 500 copies.

The Local now covers the length and breadth of Hepburn Shire and beyond, keeping to its commitment of Connecting the Community.

Editor Donna Kelly said The Local was all about exactly what was stated on her email signature. Local journalism – it’s about connecting the community, sharing stories and telling the truth. On a good day -sometimes all at once.

“We started The Local because people told us there was a need for local news by local people – not news by those who lived in Ballarat, or even Sydney, and thought they knew what locals wanted,” she said.

“So we found a local printer and an InDesign program at a dodgy market stall – and off we went. No
business plan, no forward thinking.

“In fact we were going to publish monthly but we pretty quickly realised that people wanted the read and so the second edition was produced just two weeks later.”

Donna said the idea was to bring mostly good news “because we all turn on the television or radio in the morning and it’s all bad news”.

“We didn’t want to chase ambulances or spend days in courtrooms, or even hours in council chambers
working as minute takers.

“We talked to locals about what mattered to them, about good news, inspiring stories, all the great festivals we have and all the amazing people who live here in this fantastic community.

“And that worked. People wanted to read about that and then advertisers wanted to be in the paper because people were reading it. A win-win for everyone.

“We certainly don’t believe print is dead – we are online at tlnews.com.au but all of our printed editions
find their way out of our baskets – even taken home by people for their neighbours or to send to a friend or family member who has moved from the area so they can still keep in touch. That’s local. That’s relevant.”

General manager Kyle Barnes said he had been told many times, while working for another media outlet, that he should start something for the locals.

“Donna is a journo by trade and former editor and all that, and while I was a bit sceptical about starting up a publication we just bit the bullet and got it happening.

“Business cards and all that guff came later, we just jumped in at the deep end and gave it our best shot, and here we are at the 300th edition.

“I used to worry that we would run out of stories but Donna assured me that would never happen and it never has.”

Kyle said he wanted to thank The Local crew for their hard work and dedication.

“As any small business owner knows it’s all about who has got your back, and our crew has been just amazing. During Covid they went above and beyond and we could not have done this without them.

“And thanks also go to our advertisers. I hope everyone supports them because they are the reason you have a free read each fortnight.

“Our other motto is Love your Locals.”

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