Gold Coast Bulletin goes for new look

TABLOID newspaper the Gold Coast Bulletin have been re-launched, unleashing a new editorial focus, masthead and page design to boost circulation and attract female readers.

“Readers say they want shorter stories, and articles that make their day easier,” said editor Dean Gould. “And they are also saying, ‘don’t depress us’.

Petty crime stories are going to hit the spike.

“The city is growing and changing quickly. Readers told us that they are tired of reading about petty crime. They said, ‘that happens in a big city, so get over it’,” Mr Gould continued: “We need to evolve a new style and more diverse content to match where the city is heading.”

Underpinning the new look will be an integrated design of the inside front and back pages.

Readers will see revamped weather coverage, including surf and fishing reports, plus an exhaustive “what’s on” listing of events on the Gold Coast and the hinterland of the holiday region.

“We think this is feature of the paper will be unique,” said Mr Gould.

“It is designed so readers can remove these pages from the newspaper. That means it will be easier for them to use the information. I don’t know of another newspaper that has featured this style of design.”

He promised the newspaper would be “modern and colourful”.

Some of the editorial initiatives targeted at female readers include sections on lifestyle, parenting and achieving a work-life balance.

Mr Gould has signed a new columnist, Australian comedienne Claire Hooper. “She is very much in the mould of a young urban female,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing her transition from the screen to print. She will appeal to the new readers we are seeking as part of the relaunch.”

Changes to the Gold Coast Bulletin have been forecast for the past nine months.

Mr Gould said he would conduct a “stock take of the paper” after he took over from Bob Gordon.

He asked staff to make suggestions – and he received 200 ideas. “Some of them have made it right the way through the process, which is fantastic,” Mr Gould said.

Executives also commissioned a Brisbane research company, Marketing Communications Research, to discover readers’ needs.

Mr Gould said he and deputy editor Ken Robinson consulted advertisers and newsagents. He described his conversations with newsagents as “an enlightening exercise to say the least”.

“We overlaid all this information with research on the global trends and directions of newspapers around the world, taking into account where they are heading,” Mr Gould said.

In the past few weeks, Mr Gould has been on a road show, outlining the strategy and the changes to printers, pre-press operators, as well as the editorial, circulation and advertising departments. “We call ourselves a ‘regional metro’ – a ‘retro’ – because the Gold Coast is still part of regional Australia but is a metropolitan area,” he said.

“It has been fascinating to prepare for the re-launch. We need to match the aspirations of our readers and their hopes for their city.”

Source: Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association

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