LACHLAN BENNETT discovers how News Corp’s local newspaper chains are working together to improve coverage of urban areas.Every week, the leadership of News Corp Australia’s local newspapers divisions in each state discuss common problems, and share ideas and best practices. It’s a collaborative process in which initiatives are evaluated and sometimes replicated.
“It really is about not working in silos,” explains Tamara Oppen, general manager of NSW division, NewsLocal.
“Under Brett Clegg’s leadership (as managing director, community publishing), he’s brought each business together to work collectively. Consolidation of ideas and not duplicating work is really important.”
Ms Oppen said it “would make sense” to replicate nationally NewsLocal’s latest endeavour, a seasonal magazine called Summer Time, if it is successful.
The 36-page magazine targets a prestige audience and was this week distributed to venues in the Sydney CBD and, from next week, it will feature in suburban papers Mosman Daily, Manly Daily, Wentworth Courier and Inner-West Courier.
Two separate edition have been produced, targeting Sydney’s eastern suburbs and city, and separately suburbs north of the Harbour Bridge.
Some content is common to both editions but the NewsLocal team has created what Ms Oppen describes as “luxury lifestyle content but with a hyper local feel”.
A custom-published magazine for each season is planned for 2017.
NewsLocal has also attracted interest from clients keen for their own bespoke publications.
Snap Sydney, another NewsLocal initiative, was last month successfully replicated across News Corp’s community newspaper divisions in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
It encourages readers to share photos that celebrate daily life in their city.
In its third year, it has been run across 87 community brands and attracted 35,000 photos on social media and a print and digital reach of 7.2 million. It is also a winner in the PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards.
Canon and Harvey Norman came on board as national partners along with local brands relevant to each market.
“From a commercial viability and an audience perspective, it works,” Ms Oppen said.
NewsLocal’s Junior Sports Star awards program is another initiative that is ripe for national replication, she said.
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