Saturday, 20 June 2015

Are Coffs Coast gardeners being treated like mushrooms?

President's Message - June 2015

You may have noticed over the past month that the Coffs Coast Advocate has stopped publishing anything about local gardens and gardening.
Paul Worland’s excellent weekly column has sadly been replaced by an [occasional] syndicated column that seems to talk more about gardening in cooler areas than in our sub-tropical climate.  And the space provided for gardeners’ photos has disappeared, as has the space that was normally used each Saturday for a story about gardening. 

In addition, there are no longer any contact details for local gardening clubs and associations, making it even more difficult for these community organisations (including ours) to let people know they are here. 

And as I’ve reported to you previously, The Advocate has, in its wisdom, decided earlier this year not to provide any advertising sponsorship support to the Spring Garden Competition, although, to be fair, they have offered editorial support.  However, in light of the recent lack of support to local gardening, it remains to be seen whether this will eventuate.

It has been suggested to me that these decisions have been taken for purely commercial reasons, ie, The Advocate believes it is not making enough money by supporting local gardening and gardeners.

 If this is correct, then it would appear to be a very short-sighted position for the Advocate to take, if only because 57% of their readers come from pretty much the same demographic as many Coffs Coast gardeners, who in turn support many of the advertisers that The Advocate relies on for commercial survival. 

According to its own marketing statement, The Advocate “provides comprehensive coverage of local news, events and issues of relevance to the Coffs Coast community [and] directly reflects the coastal community it services”

Dropping all support for local gardening would seem to make a mockery of this statement. 

Hopefully, The Advocate will provide the editorial support they have promised for this year’s Spring Garden Competition.  However, if that doesn’t eventuate, I believe we will need to express our concerns directly to both the Editor and General Manager of The Advocate, and also to the CEO of APN Regional Media, and ask them to consider re-instituting the Saturday gardening pages and strengthening their support for what is an important part of Coffs Coast community life.

In the meantime, if you have any contacts at The Advocate, please let them know how disappointed people are that they have all but stopped supporting gardening here in Coffs region.

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