SMH and The Age editors reach out to subscribers

SMH and The Age editors reach out to subscribersPHOTO: Fairfax Media

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald are trialling an “editor’s edition” email newsletter to subscribers to lift engagement – a move that could result in subscribers being able to provide input into coverage.

The weekly newsletter will look at the big issues of the week, with the editors-in-chief of both newspapers sharing their thoughts, and showcasing the best journalism of the week.

So far, two newsletters have been sent to subscribers.

The Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir said he wanted to communicate more regularly with his subscribers, “rather than just intermittently or at Christmas time”.

“Our subscribers are very loyal and passionate about what we do, and we just felt it was about time to give them a little bit more insight into what’s happening here in the newsroom, and some of the things that are taking my interest as editor,” he said.

However, he hopes this communication will go both ways.

“Overtime, I’m also hoping to use the newsletter as a way to solicit ideas and suggestions from subscribers about things that they’re interested in, and perhaps things they think should be covered in more detail by our newsroom,” he said.

“Our subscribers are very loyal and passionate about what we do, and we just felt it was about time to give them a little bit more insight into what’s happening here in the newsroom, and some of the things that are taking my interest as editor.” – Darren Goodsir, editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Editor-in-chief of The Age Andrew Holden said he would use his newsletter to provide insight into the creation of stories, and showcase the talent of his reporters.

“I intend to pick up on key stories, or projects, and explain how they were conceived and then executed. I’m also hoping to bring in a segment introducing specific reporters,” he said.

The idea for the newsletter was inspired by the success of the weekly newsletter of Michael Stutchbury, editor-in-chief of the Australian Financial Review.

Mr Stutchbury’s newsletter has received a positive response from subscribers. “People tend to appreciate the perspective on the week coming from an editor type who has the advantage of closely monitoring the big or important stories of the week,” he said.

He also saw the newsletter as an opportunity to engage subscribers.

“To the extent that subscribers value it, and enough of them click on it to think they do, it’s another service that you’re providing them,” Mr Stutchbury said.

“And if you’re satisfying what they want for their news and information, then they’re more likely to stay subscribers.”

“Quite a significant proportion of readers do like to get curated content each day from a well-regarded masthead, a credible masthead, that they can rely on.” – Michael Stutchbury, editor-in-chief of the Australian Financial Review.

In a time when most readers get their news from social media, Mr Stutchbury is pleased to see there is still a need for curated news content.

“Quite a significant proportion of readers do like to get curated content each day from a well-regarded masthead, a credible masthead, that they can rely on,” he said.

At the conclusion of the trial, subscribers will be sent a survey, where they can provide feedback on the newsletter.

Mr Goodsir and Mr Holden will assess the feedback, and finesse the look and feel of the newsletter. Both editors-in-chief hope to keep the newsletter going after the trial.

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