This might come as a surprise but Bundaberg Regional Council has 900 people who work in communications.
Every single Councillor and every Council employee communicates every working day, either internally with colleagues or externally with the public.
This includes the smiling faces at the front counter, call centre operators, community development workers, rangers, venue managers, etc.
So, when a journalist starts asking about the size of the communications team and its budget, I immediately suspect self-interest on the part of their employer.
I’m very proud of the small group at Bundaberg Regional Council who work full-time in coordinating our overall communications activity.
There’s a manager with four writers, four in multimedia, and four in graphics and marketing.
This dynamic team leads the production of Bundaberg Now and all of Council’s internal and external communications including advertisements, flyers, newsletters, websites, social media and everything else required of an organisation which serves more than 50 business units and a population of 98,000 people.
Council isn’t just roads and rubbish. We have an airport, theatre, museum, art galleries, zoo, water services, recycling, parks, etc which all need communications.
Over the past four years we’ve achieved considerable efficiencies by consolidating most of our communications and marketing into a central hub.
Individual departments previously had their own promotional budgets which meant we weren’t always achieving best value.
We now produce everything we need in house, which saves time and money. There’s a more strategic approach to how we communicate across multiple platforms including video, podcast, mobile apps and a digital magazine.
Why is this important? Everyone communicates and everyone receives communication. Every time there’s a community survey, residents rank communication as one of the most important Council activities.
Not only have we got smarter and better about how we communicate, we now provide a community service through the Bundaberg Now website.
The fragmentation and decline of traditional media meant many important stories were going untold.
The creation and success of Bundaberg Now has increased the level of connection and engagement across our community and added to media diversity.
Bundaberg Now publishes an average of seven stories per day, mostly about community organisations, local people, events and businesses. The website receives 100,000 visitors per month and the Facebook page has 29,000 followers.
It seems the people who bravely started a local newspaper in the era of print decline are envious of Bundaberg Now’s success.
Despite this I wish them well because media diversity is vital.
The author of this troll post (above) is a former Bundaberg newspaper journalist whose son is now writing a story about Bundaberg Now for start-up newspaper Bundaberg Today.