The ever-changing bluenotes

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As we approach the holiday season to end 2017 – and bluenotes approaches its fourth birthday – we were looking back at the original ideas, planning and technical structures we had roughed out in December 2013.

It was not just a bit of festive nostalgia and a chance to think back to the original intentions but hard evidence of just how much the media landscape has changed - and is continuing to change. 

"In the short time we have been in existence we have watched the preferences you, our audience (and co-creators), have for content and for distribution channels."

We set up bluenotes because of seismic shifts occurring in traditional media and equally seismic shifts in how corporations were trying to engage with their stakeholders. But as these four years have passed the pace has simply increased.

At launch, bluenotes was a heavily text-based, sparsely illustrated, rather traditional online magazine. We aimed to cover business, the economy, technology, the environment and society. We wanted to showcase experts from outside as well as inside ANZ.

Today we have our own growing podcast channel, video content ranging from interviews, to illustrated essays to mini-documentaries and richly interactive charts and infographics. Yet, in essence, our ambition remains what it was - to be engaging on these fronts with you, our audience.

In the short time we have been in existence we have watched your preferences for content and for distribution channels evolve continuously. Because we want you as co-creators, it is our challenge to respond.

We have been surprised sometimes by things which have worked really well – 4000-word guides to blockchain, for instance – and recognised it is no longer enough to have text or video or audio – indeed, we need to offer the greatest range of media we can. And particularly for mobile.

We have already redesigned bluenotes twice; we have changed site management twice; and this year we undertook a complete platform rebuild.

Since our relaunch, we've recorded more than 490,000 page views (averaging approximately 70,000 views per month). This encourages us that you, as readers and viewers and listeners, like the new design as much as we do.

Ongoing process

Now we’re well and truly aware this will be an ongoing process of responding to your preferences, not just something we can do every couple of years. Modern media is just not like that. Moreover there is a sea-change occuring in the way corporations are perceived in society and the expectations the community has of them - themes we have reported about frequently on bluenotes.

We have no doubt, with the political and regulatory and societal forces at play in our region, that this will continue and so it becomes ever more vital for us, as a media platform, to play a role in understanding the purpose of businesses and the causes to which corporates can contribute and the community cares about.

This year the bluenotes team, Shane White, Steve Ries and the two of us, have been joined by a new editorial producer, Jemma Wight, who is admirably tech savvy, totally attuned to emerging media habits and a veteran of ANZ's media team. She is very welcome - not least because she adds representation of the vital millennial cohort.

Sadly, our founding editorial producer, Jenny Farmer, without whom bluenotes would be far less successful, a maven of creativity and creative problem solving, inexplicably decided to relocate to the Italian Riviera. She is much missed.

So too our queen of social media, Stella Walsh, who shepherded us through the harrowing process of rebuilding and relocating our content management system.

As we head into 2018, which will obviously be a fascinating and indeed challenging year in financial services, with global interest rates rising, Asia growing, the fintech and bigtech revolution fomenting and a Royal Commission in Australia, more than ever we believe there is a place for insight, analysis, commentary and reportage.

There has been a clear message from the community more is expected from corporations, governments and the ‘elites’ – however they are defined – and our role as part of a major bank is to continue to engage in not just economic and business issues but social, environmental and community ones.

And we’ll do our best to do just that – not just because it is the responsibility of the media but because those stories are meaningful, interesting and crucial for the health of our communities if they are to thrive.

Above all, we thank you - our readers, listeners and viewers - for your ongoing support and we look forward to your ongoing engagement and comments and criticism - and ideas.

Paul Edward is publisher and Andrew Cornell is managing editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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