New Social-Media-First Platform Manly Observer Sees Readership Balloon During Local Lockdown

New Social-Media-First Platform Manly Observer Sees Readership Balloon During Local Lockdown
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Hyperlocal news site Manly Observer has launched in the lower Northern Beaches region of Sydney.

The news service, which began as a social-media-first platform, added a website www.manlyobserver.com.au to the mix just days before a second Sydney wave of COVID-19 hit the local government area in which it is based.

Editor Kim Smee said her original plans for a light entry into the market quickly changed into round-the-clock frontline coverage of the pandemic unfolding in her neighbourhood.

The platform quickly became the go-to source for breaking news and its first four weeks saw 200,000 views through local social media referral alone, in addition to its 160,000 Facebook reach.

Smee, who cut her teeth as a newspaper editor for News Corp’s local paper offerings over a decade ago, moved on to freelance for metros and later became a media advisor for Western Australia’s Justice department.

When she returned to Sydney in 2015, Smee took on the role of radio producer at Macquarie Media (2UE) and then as Account Director for Soda Communications.

Kim has returned to her local media roots to meet what she feels is a vacuum in reliable, free community coverage, but has added her own brand of frank but casual discourse with the occasional quip or quirk to keep the tone authentic.

Manly Observer covers news as well as health and food and lifestyle topics, all with a hyperlocal skew to the suburbs north of the Spit and south of Dee Why such as Manly, Seaforth, Balgowlah, Curl Curl and Brookvale.

Nutritionist and freelance lifestyle writer Faye James also joins the team as Lifestyle Editor this week, with other great local contributors such as experienced columnist Wendy Kay also pitching in with content.

 

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