Nelson Mail explores potential new publishing model
Today the Nelson Mail is announcing a project to rethink the way it funds local news and sustains the future of local journalism.
Last year, the Mail celebrated 150 years and it is proud to have been an integral part of the Nelson region for so long. But now it is time to start securing its future.
Fairfax Media is calling for feedback and ideas from the people of Nelson, advertisers and staff on what a future integrated digital and print publishing model could look like in order to best serve local needs.
Digital audiences are growing rapidly, people are moving away from print and advertising revenues are declining.
Regional editor Victoria Guild said this was an important opportunity for Nelsonians to have their say about the future of news in the region.
"This could be the biggest transformation the Nelson Mail has undertaken. That's why it is so important our readers have the chance to tell us what they want from their local paper.''
She emphasised the Nelson Mail wasn't going anywhere. "We are here to stay. We love this province and its people."
A potential publishing model could include printing the Nelson Mail three or four mornings a week, complemented by a daily email newsletter, the community print titles, and the Stuff and Neighbourly platforms.
The review of the Nelson Mail follows a similar review in the Marlborough region.
The Marlborough Express commenced a program to refresh its print and digital presence last year following extensive community consultation. Two weeks ago it began printing three days a week and offering a daily e-newsletter in addition to Marlborough stories online.
Fairfax Media group executive editor, Sinead Boucher, said: "We have been very open about the need for change in our business model. The change we believe needs to happen reflects the modern ways people are choosing to get their news – and the need for better and more targeted ways for advertisers to reach our audiences."
She said making changes to a title that had been part of the local community for more than 150 years was not done lightly.
"The changes are about sustaining the Nelson Mail's presence. We've learned from Marlborough where the feedback received from the community was vital in shaping a solution that worked for the region. We hope the same will come from feedback on our Nelson model."
Boucher highlighted the importance of the Nelson Mail continuing as a strong voice for its local community, noting the newsroom track record for driving high-profile campaigns for change in the region, such as the #buythisbeach crowdfunding campaign that saw Kiwis buy Awaroa Beach for public use, and the more recent Wasp Wipeout campaign to eradicate wasps.
Boucher said: "The Nelson team are collectively finalists for seven awards in the upcoming Canon Media Awards, including Newspaper of the Year (up to 30,000 circulation). Their role as journalists in serving the people of Nelson is a priority for us to maintain, and we hope with the feedback and ideas we receive that we will come up with a new way to continue our presence which is sustainable."
After months of preparations and investment, the printing of Nelson publications will shift to the Christchurch print plant, a modern printing facility with the available capacity.
The invitation to provide feedback on the future publishing model is open for three weeks, and an announcement on any new model is expected in June.
A POTENTIAL PUBLISHING MODEL COULD INCLUDE
Online - Nelson-Tasman content published across Stuff and Neighbourly.
Nelson Mail - Printed morning paper three or four times per week, including a bumper weekend edition.
Community papers - printed weekly.
A daily email newsletter - The Nelson Mail Daily, dedicated to the top stories of the region and including key information such as Family Notices.
New local content features - based on suggestions from Nelsonians.
❑ We want your feedback and ideas on Fairfax Media's future publishing and journalism in Nelson. How do you want to read Nelson news? What should we be covering? How often do you want a newspaper? Do you read your news on a website or from an e-newsletter? What should we never stop doing? Feedback can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; in writing to Future of Nelson Mail, PO Box 244, Nelson 7010; drop in to our office at 15 Bridge St and put ideas on our Sticky Note Wall; or fill in the online feedback form on this online feedback form