Josh Barnes is currently a journalist at Moreland Leader and has been a masthead reporter with Leader News since 2017 and a contributor to the Geelong Advertiser since 2015. He is also currently a Victorian Football League commentator with goFooty.live and a regular contributor to Geelong community radio station, Pulse FM. He tweets at @Josh__Barnes.
In your opinion, what makes a local news item interesting?
The aim of local news is to provide the news that matters most to people. My hope is that flicking through a Leader each week, each reader will find a couple of stories that either genuinely impact them or share the story of somebody they know. We’re here to tell those stories of the local legend or stand up for someone who needs it.
What do you think readers want from local news outlets?
That local connection. Readers happily look to metro dailies or their favourite news sites for everything that is happening around the world but I think there is still a very genuine appetite for what is happening around the corner. By keeping our news local we hope it will hit the mark with a Brunswick mum or a Coburg student and keep them informed about what is happening in their neighbourhood. Or even sometimes just where the best new place to grab a beer is.
What does a press release have to contain to be relevant to you?
The first thing any of us in the newsroom at Leader look for is a suburb. It’s vital we know where our subject is from or what the local relevance is before we take a story anywhere so knowing off the bat what our local hook is matters the most. Our next thought usually is about images, so making it clear whether there are good quality supplied images available or if the subject of the release is available for a shoot is crucial too. And of course, strong quotes never hurt!