How ‘The Betoota Advocate’ Became Australia’s ‘The Onion’
Over 336 thousand people so far are following a new Australian comedy newspaper on Facebook, now Australia’s most popular satirical newspaper even surpassing The Onion. A newspaper that is so hilariously true and so downright Australian that it is going viral. The Betoota Advocate is proud of its slogan ‘Australia’s oldest newspaper’, despite being created in 2014 and only rising to such popularity in a span of 3 years. Let’s have a look at what makes this newspaper hit home with so many Australians.
‘The Best Headlines’
This is a quote from my friend who introduced it to me, and is pretty much the consensus amongst the Australian population. What other newspaper has headlines as good as these:
They just nail it with the headline every single time. Content writers can learn a lot from this. The headline provides the punchy statement of the entire piece. Then, they have an extract from the article in the Facebook comment that adds to the joke. Then also, the first sentences of the article always start off with some comedy gold that runs on the same joke, so this is also visible in the Facebook preview.
Everyday Australian Stories
This is really what the Betoota is about. It publishes stories on aspects of Australian life that are just so Australian and so everyday that they make you go ‘haha ha oh yeah that’s right’. And they just have such a talent on picking up on these things that are so trivial, minor, everyday, common (yet ridiculous) that most people don’t even comment on them. E.g.
A Great Backstory
The Betoota Advocate is the official newspaper of the Queensland town of Betoota. As Australia’s oldest newspaper, it’s been in operation since the 1800’s, since Betoota was not a ghost town in fact. It’s funny because this is now the official paper for a town whose last resident died in 2004. They maintain that the paper has been ‘in operation’ all this time nevertheless and it was only when it made the ‘transition into digital news’ that it gained popularity around Australia. Well, whose to say that’s not true when Betoota has a population of 0?
The newspaper carries on about Betoota as if it is a bustling small town. So essentially, for this newspaper Betoota has become this fictional small town with all the small townish aspects cranked up to comedic extremes.
The Real Story
The Betoota Advocate was founded in 2014 by former journalists Archer Hamilton and Charles Single, as well as publisher Piers Grove. After becoming disillusioned with the world of reporting for various reasons, the three decided to start a satirical newspaper. It is based on the idea of Hamilton’s to create a conservative newspaper in his small country hometown of Mitchell, Queensland, but because of the group’s interest in the oddities of Australian country life, they decided to make it a satirical newspaper.
The newspaper makes money through ad revenue and sponsored brand placements within articles. These brands pay to be mentioned, but not associated with the controversial newspaper. However, it has now also started producing branded content in which brands are paying to be associated with the Betoota Advocate brand. For instance, it produced this advertisement for GROW Super Australia:
And The Betoota is going even further still, by producing its own branded products. The newspaper released a book of its best articles plus additional content entitled The Betoota Advocate Round Up in 2016. Then, in January 2017 they released their own brand of beer called ‘Betoota Bitter’. There’s a fantastic interview of the editor-in-large Errol Parker about the beer here. He says:
“It’s an honest drop that turns its back on that Sydney-centric, autofellating craft beer world. It has its own tasting notes, but we’d recommend pairing it with a fine afternoon sitting in a TAB alongside any form of red meat. It’s a beer you can drink all day. It’s a beer you can drink all night. It’s not pretending to be anything other than a bitter beer from Betoota.”
When asked if “Betoota residents will be pleased to finally have a beer of their own?”:
“The residents are impartial, in my opinion. Beer is merely a vehicle for alcohol for most of them.”
They have also released their own line of clothing, called Betoota Outfitters.