Tweed Shire Council’s weekly newsletter, which has been published and distributed to more than 40,000 households for 20 years, will become an insert in free local newspapers from next month after managers deemed it had become uneconomical.
Ironically, the Tweed Link had its start in the late 1990s to counter the conservative ‘spin’ the major daily and weekly newspapers at the time gave to issues while a majority progressive faction was in power, but now will be in their fold.
The Tweed Daily News (then owned by APN Media) and the daily Gold Coast Bulletin (owned by News Corp (the Murdoch press) were relentless in their sensational and biased coverage of council news at the time, bagging out the Greens/Labor/independents, and therefore much criticised by progressive politicians and community watchdog groups.
The pro-conservative coverage also spawned some independent community newsletters at the time, which later folded.
Now, the Tweed Link will become part of the Murdoch press distribution network via the Wednesday community (free) edition of the Tweed Daily News, which it bought from APN Media recently.
It will also be inserted in the independently-owned Tweed Valley Weekly (on Thursdays), and both tiles council managers say have a combined print run of around 45,000.
In a press release this week, a council spokesperson said the print run would be ‘complemented by strong online and social media readership and council email subscription services’.
The changes will take effect from the week beginning 15 January 2018.
The council press release says ‘Times have changed and independently printing and distributing the Tweed Link for 42,500 households each week, in a growing population, has become unsustainable’.
‘These changes will provide significant savings and allow residents to choose their preference to
receive or access the Tweed Link and stay informed about council news’
In the 1990s, progressives who pushed for the Link, including current Cr Ron Cooper, saw the newsletter as a way of conveying accurate news which could be trusted by the community.
Conservative National Party councillors opposed the move but were just outnumbered.
However, after some years the Tweed Link also strayed into politics during some controversial issues, according to some observers.
A lead article on a Tweed Coast development, when Dr John Griffin was council general manager, headlined ‘Is this offer too good to refuse?’ outlined a private developer’s pitch of buying council land to expand a hotel/resort at Bogangar.
Council says that from 15 January, the Link will be available:
* In a free weekly printed format available to the majority of Tweed households and bulk drops
through two local free newspapers
* As a weekly electronic subscription service direct to your inbox www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Subscribe
* On council’s website www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Tweedlink
* As a video version of the ‘Tweed e-Link’ for council’s YouTube and social media channels, to
grow our online and social media followers (coming soon).
* At council offices and some council-owned community facilities.