What is The King’s Tribune?
The very first issue of The King’s Tribune, in November 2007, was an in-house newsletter for our local wine bar, The King of Tonga.
It was a double sided A4 page intended to keep the denizens of the bar up to date with who had been sin-binned, why someone played a coathanger at the Air Guitar comp and whether anything was happening in the world outside.
After a few months The Tribune staggered out of the bar and appeared in cafes, bars and laundromats around St Kilda and Elwood. We started getting some amazingly good writers. Readers started emailing us asking for copies because the latest issue had disappeared within days of delivery. Cafes were ringing asking to be included in the distribution. We expanded across the whole of inner city Melbourne and had to knock back interstate enquires.
It had all the hallmarks of a screaming success, except for one thing – it generated absolutely no income.
Why do I have to pay for the Tribune now?
We’ve been funding the Tribune for the last four years almost entirely on our own.
We can’t keep doing that, it’s getting too big, the costs are too high and our credit cards are full.
Advertising would be the obvious solution, but that’s a tougher nut to crack that you’d think. We’re too small to attract big advertisers and too big to get the small ones. And we suck at selling.
Apart from printing costs, good writers, especially the ones who are trying to scrape together a living out of writing, need to get paid. They need to have the time to research, think, write and re-write, occasionally they need to eat and pay rent. That’s getting harder and harder to do.
At the same time it’s getting harder and harder to find strong, intelligent analysis and satire of politics, media and current affairs.
There’s probably a connection.
So, we’ve decided to take the Tribune back to the readers and ask you to pay for it. We figure that if it’s good enough you will want to. We’re not a charity case, we don’t want you to support us unless you like what we do.
Is the new Tribune going to be the same as the free version?
No. The new Tribune will be three times the size of the old one. We’re mixing professional writers with emerging bloggers and cartoonists, so the quality of the content will be always high, but often unusual.
And also, yes. We’re not professional media, we don’t publish for the echo chamber, we don’t assume that our readers are stupid and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. That’s not going to change.
Where do I get the new King’s Tribune?
You can view our archive online, everything by the last two issues will be outside the paywall.
You can buy the current issue (and back issues that have not sold out) directly from us.
But you should buy a subscription and individual issues direct from our website.
We don't sell through newsagents any more. The cost of printing enough copies to make the scattergun approach to sales is too high. We'd rather spend money on content that pulping unsold copies.
Is this really going to work?
We’ve been told, quite often, that the age of print media is over. We disagree. The age of print media is not over, the age of crap print media is over, the age of print media treating its readers with contempt is over, the age of magazines full of idiotic and utterly irrelevant advertising material is over.
Good magazines are still valuable. Independent media is still worth paying for. We’re never going to be mainstream, but we believe that there are enough people who like what we do, want us to keep doing it and know that we can only do so if they help out a little.
Contact Us with questions, suggestions, article pitches or subscription queries.