Editors Letter – Issue 93

We’re Back!! I trust you all had a relaxing Christmas and New Year. We certainly did, taking a holiday with the whole family for the first time in 5 years was a very welcome break.
We went to South West Rocks and enjoyed lazy days by the pool, soaked up the sun on the beach, tried our hand at fishing (nothing to report sadly) and generally had a great time.
Whilst away, I did my very best to stay technology free and not working – except for the single rainy day we had – and I feel very refreshed thanks to the break.
We’re now ready to take on 2016 and seeing what we can achieve as a business and as a region.
One of the big agenda items for the Village Voice this year is growth. As I alluded to in my final editor’s letter last year and with the full page Village Voice Promise, we have big goals.
We believe that the Village Voice model works well, and is a now ready to be rolled out into other regions. We will be delivering our second paper in February, which will share a lot with our Lithgow paper but also be uniquely its own. Our third paper will be rolled out in April and then a further four papers by next Christmas, totalling 7 publications.
What does this mean for Lithgow’s Village Voice? It means it will only get better. We are very excited about some of the ideas that have been developed and seeing how other communities embrace their own version of the Village Voice.
Ultimately, we believe that we can build a business in the Central West region that keeps the local newspaper and associated websites exciting and engaging for many years to come.
If it were left to traditional media companies, the Central West could very easily be without a single newspaper in the next 5 years. We don’t believe that is the way. We believe more papers is the way to go, relevant local content and advertisers that you actually want to do business with.
There is obviously a great deal of risk in growing a business to this sort of size in a down cycle in the economy, but we have invested heavily in both technology and systems over the last 18 months, so we think this is the time to make the move.
This will necessitate some changes to the format of the paper, and we will, over the next 6 weeks, be introducing some of those changes to you. Your feedback, as always, is highly regarded, so please feel free to let us know what you think.
Some of the first changes will be to our news cycle and the formats we deliver. All stories will be placed on our website as soon as they are received, and shared to our Facebook page.
We will then determine each week, the most engaging stories and they will be the ones that make the paper.
This was our original concept, however we found we had to grow to a point where we had the trust of the community before we could get that level of engagement. We believe we have now reached that point.
We will also be launching a series of Central West focussed websites that together form a portal to everything you wish to find and read in the region. It will take some time for these new websites to gain traction, but over the coming months if you are looking for a job, a property, tradesman, a place to eat – then we will be able to point you in the right direction.
Our web based services will be supported by our growing print network and with both of those platforms working together, we feel we can deliver a strong service to the entire Central West region.
Time will tell if I am right or wrong, but I can tell you one thing. We are a small, locally owned family business. We are not sitting in a board room in Sydney looking over the Harbour deciding what happens to your newspaper. We are living and working in this region.
Advertising in the Village Voice is the only way we make money, so if you are in business and feel that this all sounds like a fantastic idea, we would humbly ask you to consider advertising your business with us so we can all grow together.
Best Regards for a profitable 2016,
Rich Evans

CEO of The REDD Group. Author, speaker, creative thinker, design lover, strategist, marketer, ideas man, also a dedicated family man and lover of hair metal and tattoos.

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