adminwp June 16, 2005

From cautious and fairly inauspicious beginnings two years ago, the Newry Journal has blossomed into one of the most popular of all Irish electronic magazines on the World Wide Web. It currently attracts upwards of 500 unique visitors per day, consistently registering in the Top Five Newry websites. It draws its readership from every continent (North America is now the most popular) and most countries of the world.

The amazing thing is that all of this has been achieved without any advertising at all, except word-of-mouth! AND with a fan base from the least fruitful age-band, older people mostly, who are not normally known for their ability to browse the Net.

 The man who said ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’ was talking through his hat!

We asked the editor, local man John McCullagh for the secret of its success.

‘It’s difficult to be prescriptive,’ he conceded.

‘We upload articles across a wide range of topics that we find interesting ourselves. Others seem to agree. We have a very lively Discussion Board on a variety of issues that are initiated and pursued by our readers themselves. Equally our Guestbook attracts diverse comments and queries from people both at home and abroad.

Indeed tourists to the area actively seek us out, having read our features on the region’s attractions. We love this! We have entertained visitors from America, Australia, New Zealand and, of course England and Scotland. There are many nostalgic emigrants who yearn for their homeland and for the times that are gone. We can help by uploading their reminiscences. If we can find the time, we treat visitors to a short tour of the fabulous sites in South Armagh and South Down. ‘

‘But just what does offer?’

He smiled as though amused I hadn’t found out for myself.

”We have more than a thousand articles on offer,’ he added proudly,

on topics as diverse as Reminiscence (the most popular); local and national history; various galleries of photos, old and new; satellite images; slideshows; panoramas and old cine footage. We have a comprehensive database of folklore, old traditions and local parlance. Many local students access our thoroughly-researched historical pieces – such as the definitive History of Newry Workhouse – when completing their Certificate studies. Indeed we regularly receive expressions of gratitude from such students. We offer reviews of books of local interest.

But it is our tourist promotion material of which we are most proud. Our edge here arises from our passionate conviction in the product: we are privileged to live in the most beautiful region of Ireland, if not the world. Its culture and heritage is unsurpassed.

Since peace has returned, more and more people are visiting South Armagh and South Down. Our various on-line panorama views – with informative, conviction-driven articles, bear eloquent testimony to the good taste of such visitors and they help attract others who never visited here before.

We publish readers’ own stories and poetry. If it reaches a certain minimum standard, it will be on-site within a day! We have a popular ‘Fun Corner’ for mild diversion: it includes a rather crabbit Agony Aunt whom we just tolerate. We guarantee interaction between our readership and ourselves on the editorial board.’

‘And your plans for the future?’


‘Well, we have just recently completed a radical revamp of the Newry Journal and moved to a more efficient server. We offer a host of new services that we ourselves are struggling to come to terms with! We plan to offer facilities to aid recent immigrants integrate into our area and community. We are offering news articles and a comprehensive calendar of local current and upcoming events. Many things like that.

Currently we upload articles at the rate of at least one a day. We run regular on-line polls to assess our readers’ preferences. It is this dynamic nature we consider to be newryjournal’s main appeal. Our most dedicated readers log on more than once a day, for fear they may miss the very latest articles. We will continue at this frenetic rate.

The main change in Newry Journal is that we have gone commercial: that is, we are actively seeking advertising sponsors. This is essential to our very survival as the project has grown vastly beyond the ‘hobby’ stage. By comparison with any other form of advertising, the Internet site – and especially one as popular as newry journal – offers fantastic value for money. Our customer base is enormous: in two years we have had three quarters of a million ‘hits’ and more than a third of a million ‘unique visitors’.

‘Which commercial enterprises do you especially think would benefit from advertising on Newry Journal?’

‘Obviously all involved with the tourist trade: hotels; guesthouses: tour operators: those promoting the tourist trade, whether Council, Tourist Board, private or otherwise: all people offering professional services of any kind: book stores: the retail trade: the major shopping complexes: estate agents: developers: the list is endless, really’.

‘Are there any plans to develop your enterprise beyond the Internet?’

‘Yes. We have already  formed our own Tour Guide Company. We have plans too to go into print – possibly for the Christmas market.

Meanwhile we urge advertisers to take advantage of this unique publicity opportunity as soon as possible’.


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