PRINT media around the world is experiencing major upheavals – and here at the Star Observer, we are making positive changes to adapt to the demands of our readers.

You may or may not realise this, but the Star Observer is an LGBTI community-owned social enterprise, meaning we are not-for-profit. We are in this for the love of news and telling the stories of our community. In a time where there is more competition than ever before and more places for you to get your news hit, our readership has been growing — especially online. We could not be happier about this.

We’re changing with the times and adapting to the modern world and the way people consume news content. A news story now is the words, the pictures, YouTube clips, audio, and even embedded tweets. It is about related stories that can be clicked at a touch of a button so you can be properly informed. A newspaper cannot deliver this. Just like the blacksmith that finds it hard to get work, so too will we if we think of news as printed words and still pictures only.

Not only is the way we deliver news different, but the way in which readers consume news has changed, particularly when friends and people you trust and admire share stories on Twitter, Facebook and other sites. A week is a lifetime for news. A weekly newspaper is increasingly becoming an anachronism of the way we live today. But that does not mean there isn’t an important role for print news — it’s just that the content must work on the pages. A place where there is room for yarns to be nurtured and developed with depth and character.

Most importantly though, the changes ahead present some fantastic new prospects for the future of Australia’s oldest and most highly-regarded LGBTI news source.

The Star Observer has been embracing the new world for nearly three years. We have successfully expanded into the Queensland market and made our online presence at the core of what we do. We also merged the Queensland arm of news content with Victoria-based Southern Star Observer and NSW-based Sydney Star Observer to become a successful national publication — and the only national LGBTI news publication.

Star Observer editor Elias Jahshan (Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna)

Star Observer editor Elias Jahshan (Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna)

Meanwhile on our website, our readership is growing rapidly. So much so, that our traditional core readers from the east coast is shifting dramatically with online visitors from around Australia, and even from around the world — in particular London and Los Angeles, where large numbers of Australian expats reside. More and more people choose to read our news online, and this is boosted by our long-standing reputation as the first and best point of call for LGBTI news.

Changing to a monthly publication and placing more of a focus on news on our website is the next and natural step for the Star Observer. Publishers around the world have been hanging onto the old ways at their peril, but the world is changing and it is a world we have been embracing for years now — and proudly so.

This monthly publication will have a focus on news features, in-depth stories and profiles, analysis and opinion. There will be a round-up of news bulletins from the month, as well as a variety of arts/entertainment, lifestyle and culture feature articles. The extensive pages and space also allows for the extra in-depth content mentioned above, and an opportunity for high-quality design and layout production and striking images.

To adapt to the changing face of Australia’s LGBTI “scene”, the publication will be distributed to new places alongside the traditional bars and clubs. Expect to see copies of it at cafes, restaurants, cinemas, and more. Of course, it will still be available to read in digital flip-book format online, and yes, it will still be free.

Online, the will continue to be the first choice for LGBTI news. For that reason, we are committed to focus on publishing the latest news bulletins and important stories online, as well as the usual photos from weekend parties on the scene. We will also publish the odd light-hearted story, plus everything that appears in our monthly publication will also appear on our website.

The Star Observer is committed to maintaining its reputation as Australia’s LGBTI journal of record — something which we have been proud of since the newspaper was founded in 1979. Both the monthly print edition and our full commitment to online news content will help us to continue to develop that reputation. These changes will not just mean even more in-depth coverage of LGBT issues, but it will also be a strengthening value for our community and commercial partners.

In addition, the changes will enable us to inform, educate and entertain even more people and further strengthen our position as the first choice for authoritative and highly-respected LGBTI news, analysis, opinion and cultural information.

Some may be sad to see our weekly newspaper go. But for us, it’s the dawn of a new era of fabulousness. It is the turning of a new chapter in the Star Observer’s 35-year history. A chapter that presents a wonderful future. One that will cater to all of our readers, and one which allows us to remain the most inclusive news source in Australia.

Our commitment to you, our readers, is simple but important: quality journalism, in-depth analysis, insightful opinions and engaging features. As for online, the Star Observer aims to be first with news that is accurate and tells the whole story, delivered as soon as possible with an online multimedia experience.

We look forward to delivering our first monthly edition on April 17, where you will have stories from your favourites in our editorial team and some new faces as well.

Elias Jahshan is the editor of Star Observer. Follow him on Twitter: @Elias_Jahshan


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