Recommendations and hedged bets

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
It should be a tricky thing to tell your audience to buy a new product. There's a lot of weight in buying a new piece of tech for a household. It's meant to last, and it often costs very real money. You want to get your choice right, and so you turn to experts to help you make the choice.
 
We've had the wave of new TVs this year, with their various upgrades. Every brochure sings the praises, every sales rep knows the pitch. But it's up to us specialist journalists to help cut through the fluff and explain the reality. Are we comparing this year to last year? Are most in your audience likely to be upgrading something older? There's many ways to cut a review and many different readers. How do you give a clear yes or no on whether something is worth it?
 
Same goes for the announcement this week that the Mac is changing its underlying chip technology for the first time in 15 years. Does that mean you should buy the last generation of Intel Macs? Or the first generation of the new ones? Or is there some other way to explain it to a reader who just wants to know their next laptop will do what they want it to?
 
And then there's the enterprise TLAs to cut through on a regular basis. If someone in B2B land is hunting for a new solution, they only want to pick a new vendor for very good reason. It's not just about products, it's about partnerships and trust and stability. Is the shiny new toy worth upending long held routines? The coronavirus showed a lot of folks it's been possible to move fast and succeed if you absolutely had to.
 
Through it all, I like to see journalists genuinely plant a flag on something now and then and say "this is good". So often we carefully couch our words in "this could be" or "you might find it works for you". Might. Could. Hedge the bet. Don't be too direct about your recommendation.
 
Even in games reviews we see it. The "if" or the "some people" where more certainty could truly help a reader or viewer feel like you hold a real opinion about this specific new thing.
 
We can't shout from the rafters about everything we see either. If everything is incredible then nothing is. It's fair to say we're surrounded by a lot of really cool things in our jobs, but we can't recommend everything to everyone or they'll be left still wondering what to choose for their next upgrade.
 
Often I ask marketing reps to tell me what the biggest step forward is in a new product, or to tell me the top two features that sets this particular product apart. Quite often they struggle to answer. They're ready to give the full list of features or to talk about the umbrella reasons why it's better than the old one. But if you can't speak to the reality of using your product and what excites you personally about what's new, it becomes a transparent sales pitch without real comprehension.
 
If we're not all constantly debating the very real ways a new product or service will be used, and the very real reasons someone out there in the market will love this new option, then we're just not doing our jobs.

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Hills Radio set for closure

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Mt Barker, SA station Hills Radio 88.9FM is now marked for closure, effective 30 September. 

The closure was made official after the ACMA awarded Lofty Community Media Inc the long-term community radio broadcasting licence for the 88.9FM frequency. 

Hills Radio started airing in 2014, but has shared the frequency with Lofty since November 2018. 

Formal applications for the full licence covering Mt Barker, however, have been filed with ACMA since October last year and Hills Radio were asked to detail to ACMA their business and coverage model.

“...in making its decision ACMA considered the extent to which the proposed services would meet the needs of the local community, and the capacity of the applicants to provide the proposed service. It considers that community participation and engagement are the cornerstone of community broadcasting. We considered that we more than met the greatest requirement, but ACMA considered our application did not meet that requireme

AAP receives fresh government funds

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) has received a new cash grant from the federal government, totaling $5m.

AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said the money, allotted under the Public Interest News Gathering program, is programmed to support the company’s operations, especially with uncertainties under the pandemic. The cash grant is covered under a funding agreement enacted with the AAP’s acquisition by an impact investment team led by Peter Tonagh.

At the time of the announcement, the AAP was running a GoFundMe campaign with around $120K raised so far and aiming for $500K.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented challenges for Australia’s regional media sector, with severe declines in advertising revenue threatening the sustainability of many news outlets. The AAP newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news. This allows regional mastheads to conc

Helping journos make the most of early morning announcements

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
Last week was one of those classic weeks when there were multiple reasons for Australian journalists to get up before the sun – or stay up – to cover big events taking place in US focused timezones.
 
It’s something Australian sports fans have always endured if they want to catch the big global events live, so it’s not like tech and games are the only industries where this happens. But it’s one of those things that often gets a begrudging “here we go again” response from journos on social media.
 
But, for the most part, I think many of those who do get up early for these things enjoy the sense of occasion that such an early alarm means. Yep, it’s ‘just’ a new product, or a new game, and if the event isn’t super exciting in the end the cries of “I got up for this???” ring loudly across Twitter timelines. But, usually, if you’re covering this it’s because you already had a love for the

Northern Rivers Review set to emerge in October

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NSW’s Northern Rivers region is soon to be the subject of a new Australian Community Media (ACM) title, called the Northern Rivers Review. 

Scheduled to go live on 29 October, the Northern Rivers Review will be for readers in Lismore, Ballina, Richmond River, and Byron Bay. ACM is setting $2 for a print edition and $2 for a weekly digital subscription. 

Former The Lismore Echo editor Sophie Mueller has been appointed as the Northern Rivers Review’s editor. 

"Being a local business owner and having spent many years coming to the Byron area, I couldn't be happier to be launching a new publication in the area I care so much about. Our focus has been to listen to the people and build a local team, which will focus on local stories, issues and the region's best real estate,” said ACM chairman Anthony Catalano.

Tonic Health Media rebrands to Tonic Media Network

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Tonic Health Media has debuted its new business name: Tonic Media Network (pictured).

Company managing director/CEO Dr Matthew Cullen said the name change was driven by a need to expand the company’s business remit beyond being a simple health portal. This included the development of a new digital-out-of-home platform with Vistar, Hivestack, and Broadsign; the creation of the Chemist2U ecommerce platform, and the purchase of health content website mydr.com.au.

The company also had grown up to 50 staff since starting business in 2014.

“We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to connect people to relevant consumer messaging when they need it most and this rebrand is the latest evolution of that vision. Building upon Tonic’s existing reputation in the market, we’re excited to continue growing under this new banner to become the largest lifestyle, health and wellbeing media network in Australia,” added Cullen.

Lambert in charge of Women’s Agenda

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Women’s Agenda publisher and co-owner Tarla Lambert has taken over as editor-in-chief.

Co-founder and editor Angela Priestley said that after eight years running the editorial side of the company, she had opted to let Lambert run that side of the business. She herself will become the new strategy chief and creative director, in charge of podcasts and new partner content campaigns.

Lambert joined Women’s Agenda in 2015 as associate publisher but was moved up to publisher/co-owner in 2017.

“Building Agenda Media and @WomensAgenda with @angelapriestley and our dynamo team has been one of my biggest life highlights. I couldn’t be happier to be the new editor in chief and keep growing our footprint. Small, female-led teams do huge things,” Tweeted Lambert.

Follow Lambert on LinkedIn.

Harding flies home

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

KIIS 101.1 FM breakfast co-host Polly “PJ” Harding has flown home to New Zealand, reported Radio Today. 

Parent company ARN stated that she was opting to return home and set up a remote studio link to continue the show with Jase for the remainder of 2020. 

She will return to Australia in early 2021.

Stay tuned with Harding on Twitter @PJHardingZM.

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