I get asked a lot "how's the paper doing?".
It's doing very well, in fact it's one of the best performing regional newspapers in New Zealand.
The Northern Advocate is consistently in the top two or three for readership and circulation performance, and there are more than 20 regional papers in New Zealand still, give or take a few quirky titles that publish two or three times a week.
We have an average daily readership of 32,000 people - that's the same as the Bay of Plenty Times in Tauranga, a bigger paper with a higher populated regional "capital" than Whangarei, although across the entire region there are roughly 20,000 more people in Northland than Tauranga.
NZME in Northland is a multimillion-dollar business and about 90 per cent is generated by the newspaper you are reading, or the newspaper that generated the story you are reading online, if that is where you are finding your Advocate content.
And we're not just a newspaper, we are a media company that includes online - www.northernadvocate.co.nz and radio - The Hits, Radio Hauraki, Mix, Newstalk ZB to name a few. Plus we organise events as well.
My job as editor is to keep the newspaper in the current healthy state it is, and help build the business to a model that takes in our digital and radio platforms.
How long will there continue to be a newspaper in Northland?
Decades. Regional newspapers have the ability to connect with a loyal, local audience which puts us, in many ways, in a stronger position than our metropolitan counterparts.
A key role I can see newspapers having in the future is simply being the conveyors of "real news" as compared to the fake stuff Donald Trump likes so much.
Trump is also one of the reasons I often take the opportunity to tell people that the world needs journalists now more than it ever has.
Journalists challenge, question and inform. It's a fallacy that there are no work opportunities for reporters.
The Advocate is currently mentoring a Northland student who, if she wishes, has a career in journalism in front of her. It might be radio, TV, print or digital - there are multiple platforms.
The industry will continue to change but the fundamental questions of who, what, where, when and why won't change at all.
Newspapers and media organisations also have a unique ability to bring people together around a cause or an event - we can build audiences and share information quickly to large groups of people.
We also organise events like the Home Show and are looking for opportunities to branch out.
So how is the paper doing?
NZME is doing very well thank you, and a big part of that is because of our audience in Northland whom are loyal and remain engaged with their local media.
Merry Christmas and thank you.