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Website keeping up with the changing times

Today heralds a new dawn
in the evolution of the Wairarapa Times-Age – both in how it delivers news, and
how our readership engages with important local issues.

After months of development, and no shortage of funding, a revamped Times-Age website is now live.

Prior to the launch, the Times-Age website could be described as clunky and out of date.

It featured news stories that were two days old, which was directly related to the cost and resources required to load articles.

But no more.

Since the start of this year, the Times-Age has been working with Meta, whose accelerator programme funded the website build from the ground up.

The new site will not only feature a new look, but will publish stories at the same time as the Times-Age print edition.

While the focus will be local news, national or global stories that are relevant to our region will also feature.

Last week, Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson announced a new law that would require tech giants to negotiate with media outlets for fair pay agreements.

It is a reflection of the digital times in which we live, and the need for media outlets to pivot to myriad revenue streams in order to survive.

The Times-Age readership will find a website designed to make the news more accessible, and the relevant stories, easier to find. They will also find both
free and paywalled content.

Times-Age owner and publisher Andrew Denholm, is the first to say, “news is not free”.

“Significant investment is required to run a newsroom, and it has changed a lot over the years since I bought the paper.”

In addition to rising costs, which are no less since newsprint production moved offshore, Denholm said that it was unsustainable to continue to rely on traditional methods of revenue, namely advertising and print subscribers.

“Consumption habits are changing, people are increasingly reading their news online, and advertisers are aligning more and more with digital giants such as Meta and Google.”

He said news, and in particular local news, was important.

“There is no other media in Wairarapa covering the news that our reporters cover. We must keep local news alive.”

Editor Roger Parker said these were uncertain times.

“The covid-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon. Meanwhile, the cost of living is rising, housing is unaffordable, and we are facing a healthcare worker crisis.

“More than ever, we need good-quality community journalism.

“I am proud of the stories we have covered this year, from Wairarapa’s failing roading network to the pressure on our healthcare and emergency services.

“It’s important that we can continue to do this.”

The Times-Age website will also give users the ability to subscribe to the news platform that suits them best, be it online or in print.

The premium print and e-edition Times-Age publications will remain the same – containing all the local stories, international news, sport, feature pages, and puzzles that you know and love.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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