Decline in journalism quality 'helps independent mags'

Decline in journalism quality 'helps independent mags'
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The head of The Monthly has cited a decline in quality journalism in Australia as the reason more people are buying the independent publication.

The title, along with fellow small-publisher owned Frankie, is one of the few to show consistent growth over the audit periods, climbing 10% in today’s Audit Bureau of Circulation monthly magazine figures.

CEO Rebecca Costello cited the recent cuts and perceived decline in quality journalism in Australian newspapers as the reason for their success.

She told B&T: “People are a bit disillusioned and they look to The Monthly for the analysis. We’re not news, we can’t compete with the 24-hour news cycle, but we can provide an overview of what’s going on in the country.

“We also don’t have any staff reporters so all of our article are from the best voice on particular subjects out there to produce it, there’s nowhere else with long form editorial like this. It gives the readers a different voice and tone every month.

“We’ve put it in newsagents next to newspapers for promotions and our sales just go up, so I think the closest thing in terms of content for us is what a newspaper used to be.”

Costello also cited the performance of the magazine, which picked up best business title at the Australian Magazine Awards, and Morrison Media-owned Frankie which took the overall title, as examples of the strength of independent publishing.

“The magazine’s not cheap, it’s $9.95, but no-one else in Australia is producing the kind of content we are. Every month our online traffic is up 20,000, and we’re lucky because we’re not News and Fairfax we can experiment with free and paid content,” she added.

The Monthly was the first magazine in Australia to launch an iPad app, and last year launched its second iteration, but Costello said they are holding off submitting digital subscription figures until the next audit period when they will have six months of data.

She also said the election would be a big driver for the brand this year, adding: “People are looking for more education, so we’ll stick with political covers, it’s going to be a big year for us.”

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