Telum Talks To: Bruce Guthrie from The New Daily
To mark the 10th birthday of The New Daily, Telum Media spoke to the Co-Founder / Editorial Adviser, Bruce Guthrie, about the publication's milestone and aspirations for the next decade.
Reflecting on the past decade, what do you consider the most significant milestones?
When we launched on 13th November 2013 - talk about tempting fate - we were a website with a once-a-day email that went out Monday to Friday to a subscriber base of about 30,000, who all signed up on day one. Now we go out twice a day, Monday to Friday, and once a day on Saturday and Sunday to 480,000 subscribers.
We also do single-subject emails each week on a range of topics, plus news alerts that go out to our subscriber base when a story demands it. The first one we ever did in March 2014 was a massive milestone: the disappearance of MH370. The news broke just after our morning email landed in in-trays, so we just did another about an hour later. The open and click-through rates were enormous, so we made the alerts a regular offering. Soon after, we added a Saturday edition, then a Sunday edition and moved our close from midnight each night to 6 o'clock each morning. That allowed us to include big breaking overseas stories, often as the lead to the morning wrap. As our audience grew, The New Daily's journalism got more and more traction, culminating in our first Walkley Award in 2020.
How has The New Daily evolved alongside independent journalism?
Sadly, independent journalism hasn't evolved as much as I'd hoped when we started talking about launching The New Daily. Even now, if you look at the Top Ranked news sites, we are routinely the only site in the Top 20 or so that was launched this century. News in Australia continues to be dominated by legacy media or foreign-controlled outlets. It's very sad. The great flowering of independent media just hasn't happened in the news business.
In a previous interview with Telum, you highlighted the challenge of building trust for a new platform like The New Daily. How would you describe the community of readers you've cultivated in the past decade?
All our research shows we have an intelligent, highly engaged audience who appreciate we are not part of the long-running news duopoly in this country. We realised on day one, when we got 30,000 subscribers, that there's an enormous hunger for new voices in Australia. I'm proud that we've carved out a niche, but, frankly, there should be more outlets by now.
Are there any emerging local or independent publications that have caught your interest recently?
I quite like what The Daily Aus is doing in the news sector. Good on them for trying something new. I also like to look at The Squiz. I think they do a good job of making sometimes difficult subjects accessible.
Looking forward, what goals and aspirations does The New Daily have for the next decade?
To keep building through innovation. Every time we've added something new, our audience has rewarded us, so we must keep at it. As a former Editorial Director (now Adviser), I'm always looking to improve our journalism. We're blessed to have some of the country's best commentators and analysts, and I think our news delivery is honest and balanced. Once upon a time, that was a given in the news business, but not so much now. Too many sites are putting the news through their own filters and then confirming the biases of their audience. It's kind of refreshing to deliver the news straight and unvarnished. More of that, please.