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                Overmatter 2021/01 with Peter Coleman

                May 10, 2021 at 12:23 pm by admin


                With the uniformly positive response to our new website, I’m taking the somewhat self-indulgent step of launching a blog. Primarily to record views and comment not warranting a full post.

                The ‘Overmatter’ tag is one I used as editor of Bill Minnis’ Ink Magazine in the late-1980s-to-early-1990s, and will be familiar to all in the news business as the name given to that galley of text which didn’t otherwise make it into the paper (people always remarked with amazement that there was exactly the right amount of news to fit an issue).

                 

                Going back to those days in which I had come to the trade press from a background in paid-sale journalism, Bill’s desire to create a Business Review Weekly for the printing industry – rather than another ‘me-too’ magazine full of thinly-concealed advertorial – was refreshing, and I think we did that.

                Every month, we would look through the dominant rival, read the articles, and ask, “where’s the ad that goes with that, then?” Frequently it would be on a facing page.

                An element of that dèja vu, then when I picked up a couple more of the local publications now circulating around Cooroy, the Noosa hinterland village neighbouring GX’s base.

                I’d been out to see the team at the excellent community-owned 60-year-old Cooroy Rag the previous week, and had heard of a newcomer. In fact there are at least two – one a monthly with mostly lifestyle content and some very good-looking ads (note to the Rag team there), and the other a perfect-bound seasonal publication boasting an incredible 180 pages. No names here, you know who you are!

                And yes, most of the content appeared to be tied to one advertiser or another. Does that matter? Well, I’d say that the advertiser pool is only so large, and the community may not be well served by a product which runs stacks of social pics but doesn’t find it necessary to caption them!

                 

                After talking to Scott Morrison – and I can reveal that he calls his wife “Josh Frydenberg”, because it is she who controls the finances – I shall have more on this subject later. We’re talking Scotty from the Burdekin Local News, of course, not the man from Marketing!

                 

                Seems the honeymoon for many of those local papers – if there ever was one – is over, with News announcing plans to bring back its Mackay and Maroochydore dailies as weeklies, now the independents have proved there was money to be made.

                After at one point negotiating a possible sale of the former APN Australian regional media business to Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media, News is also competing with the group in many of its heartland towns. I gather News has also pitched to local councils in some areas, seeking advertising support in exchange for coverage of their area in its daily papers.

                 

                Sad to see Twitter shutting news aggregator Nuzzel, following its acquisition of ad-free news startup Scroll.

                The excuses appear feeble – Scroll chief Tony Haile talking about ‘quick fixes and duct tape’ to keep it going – and even Scroll will go into ‘private beta’ format, pausing all new signups.

                One Nuzzel casualty is WAN-Ifra chief executive Vincent Peyregne, who has responded to “the vague announcement of a service interruption” by migrating his own industry newsletter to Paper.li. We wish him well.

                 

                Meanwhile, I announced this week, that we’ve switched GXpress’s content contribution facility on, which in due course we hope to have share revenue with writers. We’ve been running a weekly newsletter almost continuously since last March, and I don’t mind admitting I would appreciate some help keeping the stream of content flowing. So please, join the website and have a nose around the buttons and levers to let us have your news and views.

                The lack of a revenue model will also become more critical whenever it becomes possible to leave the country to attend conferences and trade shows again. But that’s another story.

                Peter Coleman

                 

                Sections: Columns & opinion

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