Whatever your passion is, getting together with others who share it is like having a shot of adrenaline. That’s how it was for us this past weekend at the Community Newspaper Association (NZCNA) Conference in Christchurch. We were invigorated to be with a group of people who are so professional and passionate about their independent papers serving their local community.
We soaked in all we could at this, our second NZCNA conference, and after networking with our peers we returned home with plenty of exciting tricks up our sleeves.
It was interesting to have Kris Faafoi, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media give the opening address, and the audience asked him some perceptive questions; the consensus from the room was that if the government is serious about democracy and community building, then they must consider how they support community papers who play a major role in this. A serious problem for papers nationwide has been the reduction in government and local council advertising. These bodies have an army of PR staff and prefer to communicate only positive, good news stories about themselves via their own publications.
Print worldwide has faced many challenges with a lot of advertising revenue moving to online platforms. The daily papers that were so dominant a couple of decades ago are fighting a rear-guard action against falling subscriber numbers. We have decided to do our bit and subscribe to the NZ Herald online. We appreciate their service and it takes money to provide that. What would Auckland be like without the Herald?
If the government is serious about democracy and community building, then they must consider how they support community papers who play a major role in this
It is looking like the news will increasingly be dominated by global brands like CNN and Fox - and hyper-local community papers. As the metropolitan daily papers continue to retrench it provides more scope for independent locals to flourish. As trusted community members, the free local papers are also a good choice for local businesses to advertise in. Papers like the Beacon are only possible because of advertising support. As that grows, we are able to run more pages and have increased space to publish more stories from your neighbourhood.
We began our Beacon adventure three years ago with heaps of enthusiasm, some background in communications, but no actual experience in newspaper publishing. Coming late to the party and having so much to learn, it has been an exciting and worthwhile journey.
Though we have been part of this community for decades, our involvement in the Beacon has provided a constant revelation to us of the many wonderful people there are in the area that are doing so many different things that enrich lives. Being part of the hub at the centre of all this is a lot of fun and a real privilege.
You, our readers have always been encouraging and supportive which is really appreciated. Thank you so much!
After our weekend away we feel inspired and excited for the future of community news, we can’t wait to get started on the August edition.
Kerrie and John Subritzky