News Corp Australia has taken an unusual step in seeking corporate and media partners for a multi-platform campaign to deliver better outcomes for the people of Western Sydney, an area which has long suffered from inadequate infrastructure and resources.
News launched the “Fair Go for the West” campaign with the Seven TV network and Nova 96.9 FM radio in an official media partnership this week. There also is a raft of commercial partners supporting the initiative, including National Australia Bank, NRMA Road Services, Harvey Norman, Crown Resorts and the University of Western Sydney.
The 57-day campaign aims to celebrate and advocate for Western Sydney, a “heartland” for the Daily Telegraph and nine NewsLocal community titles in the region including the Blacktown Advocate, Parramatta Advertiser and the Penrith Press.
More than a quarter of News Corp NSW’s daily circulation is sold to the region.
The initiative will see newsrooms, talent and content shared between the Telegraph and NewsLocal titles, Seven and Nova, according to News NSW state director Brett Clegg.
“I find it exciting terrain to walk,” said Mr Clegg, who during his time at The Financial Review brought it to television on Channel Nine’s Financial Review Sunday.
“The 7 and Nova partnerships are new ground where we want to amplify our journalism across a multitude of platforms.”
Beginning with a low key editorial campaign last year, featuring the “Fair Go for the West” logo, it has been expanded and integrated through the media partnerships, not merely to create awareness but achieve results.
“There’re a lot of tremendous things about Western Sydney,” Mr Clegg said. “It’s an aspirational area, but it has also suffered from a lack of investment and planning at a government level.
“You’re talking about a region with over two million people, but in terms of the actual demand for work, there are some 200,000 less jobs in demand than what there is.
The idea for the campaign emerged last October with an urgent call for action from the leadership group of the University of Western Sydney, which visited Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker to discuss the shortfall in resources in the area.
“The point of that meeting was to identify many of the inequities throughout Western Sydney in areas such as transport, health and education when compared to the rest of the city, and to find ways to repair that imbalance,” Mr Whittaker said.
“That initial discussion has grown into a fully-fledged, corporate-backed rallying cry for decent outcomes across Western Sydney.
“The O’Farrell Government has already begun to take this on board with a range of recent positive developments, including shifting 3000 bureaucrats to the West.”
The media partnerships will see the three platforms collaborate with talent, content and events – including the Royal Easter Show broadcast booth, which Seven and the Daily Telegraph will share out at Homebush as media partners for the event
“Effectively, Seven and Nova can have a look over the Fair Go for The West newslist and someone might say, ‘this is an idea that would translate really well on television’ – so we’ll say ‘come along and film it’ and that goes on their evening news bulletins.
“Likewise, Nova will have cross promotions and sharing of stories. People like [Telegraph reporter] John Lehmann and [editor] Paul Whittaker will go on radio and talk about what they’re doing.”
While News has partnered with 2GB in the past, Nova was targeted for its affinity with young demographics, which will come to the fore with initiatives including the Rock Bus – which will explore areas of Western Sydney with two reporters and a promotions team on board.
“We really wanted to do something that was ground-breaking and different,” Mr Clegg said of the partnerships.
“We challenged ourselves to try to create a campaign that not only was reflective of the readership traditions of the Telegraph and NewsLocal, but would also take our traditional assets into the future.”
Mr Clegg said he expected to see more innovations and collaborations among different media players.
“There’s a lot of talk about the need for innovation and being in this industry for over 15 years now, I think the fragmentation and commoditisation of news really underscores the fact that ideas and relationships are the future.”
Fairfax has also kicked off a campaign for the area, with The Sydney Morning Herald launching its “Reshaping Western Sydney” campaign last Saturday.
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