Hyper-local publisher wins Australian digital excellence award

The Bugle (Kiama, Australia) has won a coveted Australian media award for its digital channels which include a mobile app and web app.

The recognition came at the Country Press NSW annual conference held in Sydney in October (2022) and Bugle owner Cathy Law says she was surprised and delighted to win the Award of Excellence for Best Digital/Online Presence.

“All of the members’ online editions were considered in the judging and we are so much smaller than most of them,” she said.

“I really think it is the app that has set us apart. The app has allowed us to add extra value to our fortnightly printed newspaper by being able to provide news as it happens.”

Cathy said most hyper-local publishers are using websites only, and grappling with how to integrate them into their business, however the Bugle has taken a mobile app first approach and it is “a real addition to our story telling ability”.

It has certainly added to our workload, resulting in us employing another two part time journalists,” Cathy said.

“It has also lifted the profile of The Bugle enormously and enabled us to be an even more valuable service for the community.”

The Bugle launched its digital channels in January 2021 in the middle of the pandemic, publishing a mobile app and a web app, which now reach close to 100% of the local adult population.

“The message of the effectiveness of reaching an average of 15,000 engaged readers is finally getting across,” Cathy said.

“It has positioned us for sustainability in the coming years.”

Cathy said that the Bugle has experienced a “big increase in advertising” revenue since the launch of the digital applications.

“I think the iApp solution of having an app to engage readers is the way to go,” she said. 

“Our readers love its convenience and it is an easy system to use.”

The Bugle engages the Local Independent Media Application (LIMA) which is a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) for the hyper-local publishing industry provided by the iAppNetwork, a division of Schistrockmedia Limited.

LIMA provides a fully functional content management system publishing to a mobile application and web application. 

“We are delighted for Cathy and her team,” Schistrockmedia’s managing director Tony O’Regan said.

“Many publishers take for granted the benefits of a mobile app over a website, and while we provide the website as part of the software package, it is the mobile application which is driving business sustainability.”

To find out more about LIMA click here.