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Saturday, 21 September, 2019,23:35

How did we beat all the rural newsrooms?

Rural newsrooms have not always adapted to the modern journalism world. Kinglake Ranges News prides itself on a 21st century newsroom model.

Kinglake Ranges News – which began as a university assessment task in 2017 – has gone on to become the #1 online news site in Murrindindi Shire and surrounding districts.

Only the Murdoch-owned Leader Newspaper Group (publisher of the Whittlesea Leader and Diamond Valley Leader*) has more online readers than Kinglake Ranges News.

How does a one-man band news site (with some unpaid assistance from Kerry Ann Willcocks and Simon Templar) produce an online news site that blitzes all the the rural newspapers that publish in print and online, such as the Alexandra Standard, Yea Chronicle, Whittlesea Review, North Central Review and Mountain Views Mail?

They have the resources of a newsroom, photographers, contributors and lucrative advertising contracts. We do not.

Rural newsrooms are demonstrably – and necessarily – more interested in advertising revenue and fitting reports around advertisements [a standard practice in newsprint – the ads go first and reports fit around them] than publishing information in the public interest online. There goes the ad revenue.

Without advertising revenue there would be no print newspaper at all. As generations pass rural newsrooms will have to adapt. Some have been very successful in securing their operations. What happens when “millennials” are the largest demographic?

How a one-man newsroom media operation could be so successful even surprised the editor, Ashley Geelan. Kinglake Ranges News had an aim of 10,000 readers a month for 2019. That’s already been surpassed.

It shows that many rural newsrooms – despite all their resources, staff and income streams – have not adapted to the modern world.

We are Murrindindi Shire’s #1 News Site because we started – and were the first – online local news reporting service to bring Murrindindi Shire and surrounding districts residents into the 21st century.

If we can do it as one-person operation one wonders why the major local media outlets can’t?

Online news started in Australia when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Bureau of Meteorology launched internet sites. That was 1994.

This article includes online circulation/readership figures only. It does not include print circulation figures for media outlets mentioned.

*Originally published as Whittlesea Post and Diamond Valley News.

Kinglake Ranges News does not produce a print edition.

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