Supporting events: explaining our role

Roy Pilott

About 30 years ago I helped organise sponsorship for what was then the richest football tournament in Waikato.

We recruited sponsors and encouraged our Tokoroa club members to support the people who supported us.

That line is one I have used many times, and right now it applies to how your community newspaper views life.

Our two publications – Cambridge News and Te Awamutu News – have made quite an impact serving you in the last year.

We are regularly breaking news stories of regional interest. Our local body coverage is without parallel in the Waikato and combined with fiercely local and exclusive coverage, our two papers have become pacesetters.

We are also cognisant of the part we play in promoting worthy causes – but some organisations are now finding we have lifted the bar on determining what is advertising and what is news.

In short, while we cover news, we also support the people who support us, as I would expect any business to do.

We are seeing more organisations who choose to invest in communications advice and buy adverts from our rivals – including from foreign-owned social media platforms that pay no tax in this country – then suggest we have an obligation to provide free publicity as “the local paper”.

We don’t.

We will always cover news – but for this newspaper to continue serving you at the present high level – with a team of four part time journalists (three at or near pension age) – the editorial department cannot undermine the advertising department by becoming a drop box for people who do not support us.

Sound harsh? Harsh is the cost of delivering your paper rising 30 per cent. Harsh is the cost of newsprint rising 30 per cent. That’s the reality your newspaper has faced this year.

We don’t ask you for money to support our journalism, but we do stick to our standards – and we won’t give away adverts or do deals to run complimentary stories with adverts we sell.

We do have resources to help you promote your work – and one of them is the opportunity to purchase a Business Showcase. Talk to Janine Davy on 027 287 0005.

Running a superb editorial department producing a free newspaper requires an economically sensible business model.

The print industry is facing tough times – I expect to see many more newspapers folding as those extra costs bite.

Those mastheads which have the support of their communities have a far healthier future. We plan to be among them.



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