It is with sadness that co-founder of The Hoopla, Jane Waterhouse and I tell you that this will be the last edition of The Hoopla in its present incarnation.
From today we will be presenting a “best of ” from our archives and then ceasing publication altogether very soon.
For almost four years The Hoopla has taken great pride in bringing you the best in opinion writing and the daily news seen through the eyes of Australian women. “Smart with heart,” has been our motto. Always independent. Calling it without fear or favour.
Since 2011, The Hoopla has published some 5,000 articles, 300 writers and more than 100,000 of your incisive and thoughtful comments – and has been very proud to do so. Thank you all for taking a seat in our Big Top to watch the daily acrobatics and spectacle.
We’re not quite folding our tent yet and hope you’ll see The Hoopla pop up in another guise.
The online media game in Australia is evolving at dizzying speed and increasingly becoming one for players with very deep pockets – often supported by overseas media networks who are able to absorb enormous financial losses for their forays into the local market. Often the content offered is from writers and interns who work for free; reprinted from other sites or blogs and, increasingly, material under licence from the taxpayer-funded ABC.
That was never our game.
Instead, at The Hoopla, we endeavoured to find original material from the best opinion writers and pay them for their labours. We operated on that proverbial shoe-string budget with never more than a handful of paid staff (Kath, Tennille, Sofia, Ali, Sue), and we also did our level best to find advertisers who saw our many passionate readers as worth talking to.
In fact, our readership has never been higher – more than 373,999 visitors (UBs) so far in this month of March and with paid subscriptions* growing by 20 per cent every month.
However, in the face of enormous and radical change in the online space, we are unable to keep operating in our present form. This is the reality we’ve been grappling with for some time.
Since The Hoopla began, we’ve rejoiced to see so many Australian women find their voices in the media through a host of new sites (and with more to come). We’d like to think we’ve inspired, as much as you have inspired us.
The roll call of writers on The Hoopla (women and men), is astounding. Hooray!
Now, not a day goes by without a dozen pitches to The Hoopla from established writers and those who feel they have something to say and are able say it brilliantly. We gratified to know that so many regard us as a trusted home. Alas, as Editor In Chief, I often have to reply that our editorial budget is limited.
You all deserve to be paid for your words. This has always been, for Jane and I, a non-negotiable principle.
Something called “exposure” in cyberspace doesn’t put food on the table.
We wish all those who are continuing in the online world, and those who are about to launch new sites, the very best of luck.
Some most heartfelt thanks to all who have helped make The Hoopla a respected destination:
The Hoopla’s first editor (and an initial investor), was the late Caroline Roessler. She made us look gorgeous, kept us out of trouble and brought her unshakeable integrity to every page.
Our second editor was Lucy Clark who strengthened and enhanced Caroline’s legacy – everyone who dealt with Lucy found her to be a safe pair of hands and our trust in her was not misplaced. Both of these accomplished professionals taught Jane and I so much.
Our main investor and Chair, Deanne Weir, and advisor and shareholder Cass O’Connor, again, brought something beyond financial support – a belief that what we wanted to say was worth saying and that a diversity in media adds to the richness of our democracy.
To those advertisers who saw us as worth investing in? Thank you most sincerely.
And to our fabulous subscribers: Your support has meant the world to us.
As for our writers – where do we start?!
Looking through the list of bylines, Jane and I are astonished at the names we have assembled over the past four years. Excellent and renowned journalists, authors, politicians, comics, social justice advocates, artists and photographers critics, bloggers, the odd ratbag and, of course, readers with extraordinary tales to tell.
We love youse all!
And the topics we’ve covered have, hopefully, shown that women’s interests cannot be corralled. An abiding interest in domestic politics, international affairs, family, relationships, health and, yes, words from the stylish women we admire … Jane and I have loved every word (even if we didn’t agree with all you had to say. Ratbags!)
That was always our thought – that we’d talk to our audience as one smart woman to another.
Those who have been with us from the beginning and those who joined the daily circus deserve special mention.
Jane and I want to thank our marquee talents who have put our name in lights – Monica Attard, Angela Catterns, Gabrielle Chan (who we were thrilled to give the FIRST EVER Parliamentary Press Pass awarded to an online women’s outfit), Jane Gilmore, Corinne Grant, Gabrielle Jackson, Meredith Jaffe, Craig Bennett, Antoinette Lattouf, Paula Matthewson, Kerri Sackville, Tracey Spicer and, who could forget the admirably-named Mrs Woog.
We are positive we’ll be reading and hearing from all these passionate and opinionated (in the best way) writers for many years to come. There are no words adequate to thank you for your loyalty.
Then there were the many writers who rose to the challenge of an urgent deadline to give us pure gold or to surprise us with a unique perspective from the world they live in. And to all those who helped us get on our feet in the early days … your generosity isn’t forgotten.
For Jane and I, seeing it on the page? Every day has been like unwrapping presents on our birthday. The excitement has never waned, even a moment.
Where to from here?
Our younger women’s mag Birdee, edited by the brilliant Hayley Gleeson is going from strength to strength. We will all continue to support Hayley’s unique and fabulous creation.
But for me, Jane, Deanne and Cass – until we can find way to fulfill our original commitment to pay Hoopla writers decently; provide them with adequate editorial back up; create a safe space for commenters and recommend to you, the readers, those advertisers we trust…?
We are considering our options. We never want to be less than we promised.
Until then, our treasure trove of opinion, insight, fun and stories will remain at www.thehoopla.com.au for your ongoing reading pleasure.
We will miss the daily hoopla. Very much indeed.
What fun we’ve had!
*A note to subscribers – click here for any queries.