When the Newcastle Herald wanted to see how much the town supported the Knights when they made the NRL semi final, they asked the fans to show it.
On its Facebook page, the masthead asked its readers to put their name to a pledge to show they supported their team.
There was an overwhelming response, with 1500 people putting their hand up to support the Knights, and the Herald put every one of them in the paper, running over four pages.
“Pretty quickly, something like 100,000 people had seen the Facebook post,” news director Heath Harrison said.
“It became a bit of a logistical nightmare to get those names, put them on the page and making it look great.
“But we did all those things, and I’m sure it gave people a buzz who saw their name on the paper.”
The idea was pitched earlier in the week by editor Chad Watson, but it didn’t take long to fill the first page, then the others quickly followed.
Newcastle Herald media sales director Craig Lambert said the initiative highlighted the level of the community’s support for the paper, and the Knights.
“One thing this community loves is its sporting teams,” Mr Lambert said.
“Whether it’s the Knights or the Jets or the local competitions around netball, football, basketball, there is a real strong engagement.”
Mr Lambert said it did not take long for the community to get behind the initiative financially.
“Our customers [advertisers] thought it was a great initiative,” he said.
“We got the idea fairly early in the day, and before the day closed, we had sold all of the advertising space.
“We sold it to blue chip brands who really wanted to jump on, but we could have sold it a couple of times over.”
Mr Lambert said the success of the initiative was down to the masthead’s presence in town and community spirit.
“What drives ideas like that is not advertising ideas, it’s about what’s right for the paper,” he said.
“We have an editorial team that understands this community, and they’re doing things the community wants to know about.”
We’ll have more on the Newcastle Herald’s positive initiatives in the next issue of The Bulletin, due to be distributed early next month.