Welcome to New Matilda 121 — our Christmas edition and the last ‘live’ issue for 2006.
Next week in the first of two ‘best of’ issues we will publish a selection of New Matilda‘s most popular pieces over the past 12 months. The week after, issue 123 will be a compendium of ‘staff picks’, containing some of our favourites from 2006.
This has been a year of consolidation for New Matilda. We now have 4,800 subscribers (an increase of 25 per cent since this time last year). Hits and page views have continued to increase over the year. An exciting change this year was the Policy Portal’s sending out a separate email on Fridays. This has considerably increased the readership for our policy-related articles and we are looking to further evolve that part of New Matilda‘s operations in 2007.
New Matilda ‘s Human Rights Act for Australia campaign continues to make inroads at State and Federal levels. We were heartened to see Victoria follow the ACT’s lead and pass a Human Rights Act. We believe that this is an idea whose time has surely come, and more importantly, we believe that Australia has never been in such need of a Federal Human Rights Act as it is today.
In the Australian media landscape, New Matilda uniquely combines a weekly news/opinion magazine with a public policy portal. Australians are increasingly disillusioned by the pre-fab spin served up by the traditional news media and are turning in large numbers to the internet for alternative sources of information. New Matilda will continue to offer readers a fresh and feisty independent source of news, commentary and opinion.
In 2006, over 50 issues, the magazine published 546 articles by 216 different writers. Of these commentators, some like Robert Fisk, Jane Caro, Irfan Yusuf, Joanna Mendelssohn, John Hooker, Andrew West, Emma Dawson, Michael Brissenden, Sophie Cunningham, Ryan Heath and Antony Loewenstein have been regular columnists. But we also published a large number of one-off articles 143, or 66 per cent of the total number of writers published, representing new and previously unheard voices in the Australian mediascape making their point forcefully and courageously, sometimes for the first time on a national stage. We are very proud of that.
Thanks to Sharyn Raggett
New Matilda came into being in August 2004, just as Australia was hurtling towards a Federal election campaign. As we prepare to move into another election year, New Matilda continues to adapt and change offering new features and functions, as we try to stay independent and ahead of the conglomerates who will, no doubt, begin to engorge themselves following Senator Coonan’s recent changes to media laws.
Brave and independent voices like New Matilda will become increasingly important over the next few years.
On behalf of the staff of New Matilda, I want to thank our columnists for another year of insightful, challenging and entertaining copy. I want to thank all our other writers and commentators for their generosity and their openness to our inevitable editorial suggestions. Thanks again to our regular illustrators: Fiona Katauskas, Sharyn Raggett, David Emerson and Paul Batey, plus all the others who allowed us to reprint their work through the year. It would be a much drabber world without you!
We thank the army of volunteers and interns who have helped us with the magazine, the policy portal, the Human Rights Act campaign and with all the other activities New Matilda undertook this year.
I want, especially, to thank New Matilda’s staff; Rod McGuinness, Marni Cordell, Miriam Lyons, Anna Hustler and Helen Reynolds; and, for parts of the year, Nick Carney, Jessica Tham, Eve Vincent, Melanie Gillbank and Helen Smith for their talent and creativity under pressure, their selflessness and their good humour.
The staff thanks the New Matilda Board for its support and counsel.
And most of all, we again thank you, our readers and subscribers. Without you, New Matilda simply could not exist.
All the best for the end of 2006. Have a safe Christmas and New Year and we look forward to a 2007 full of renewed promise and crackling energy!
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