Publication Profile: The Local Rag

Publication Profile: The Local Rag

The changes to algorithms, and the emergence of AI as a tool has flipped the game at different times over the past couple of years.

Telum Media spoke with The Local Rag's Founder / Editor, Ben Tyers, about the beginnings of the publication and his commitment to local journalism.

For people who may have never come across The Local Rag, can you share a little insight into what it is?
I first had the idea for The Local Rag back in 2018. I was working for a large lifestyle publication and realised that we, along with competitors, were only covering new hospitality venues and events within a 15km radius of the CBD. I grew up in regional Victoria, and know how much there is to see and do in the country, and realised that there was a lack of resources out there for those looking to plan a weekend away, or a road trip outside of the city.

How do you adapt to the changing media landscape and evolving reader preferences while committing to local journalism?
I've worked in media for a long time now, and you always have to be on your toes. The changes to algorithms and the emergence of AI as a tool have flipped the game at different times over the past couple of years. I think the great thing about the country is that you have the time and space to consume things a little slower. And I definitely take this ethos into The Local Rag. The written word and newsletters are really important for our readers, so we continue to build on that. It's important that we stay true to the brand. Make sure we're covering the businesses, events, and interesting stories that are going to keep our audience coming back time and time again.

Can you describe what the publication's audience looks like?
The majority of our audience lives in Victoria and New South Wales, which has been where we have focused more of our coverage. In 2024, we're looking at expanding this reach further, and already have stories in the works from both Tasmanian and South Australian writers.

What is a memorable experience you have reported on that has left a lasting impact on you and your readers?
In 2023, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Mildura to visit a major wine operation. When I think of Mildura, I think more of oranges and sultanas, rather than it being where my wine comes from. It was an eye-opener to see a large business putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability, and respecting the land and area that they grow grapes on. A simple trip like that can really change your perspective on what can be done, and what is already being done in the sustainability space. Our readers really loved the content that came out of that trip, perspectives on their sustainability practices, why the area is ideal for grape growing, and social content around some of the agricultural innovation was well received.

You mention you are looking to expand to cover other states. What advice would you give to PRs wanting to work with you to assist?
As we look to expand around different regions in Australia, I recognise we're going to have to learn together. I'm going to be leaning heavily into our local writers and their perspectives as we look to cover the right story in the right areas. I'm always open to working with PRs to make a story work for both the client and for The Local Rag.

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Ben Tyers

Head of Content and Audience

The Local Rag

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