Digital Talk: Happy Hooplas! Harmer, Waterhouse, Roessler launch

There's a new Australian women's media property in town: A community for "wise, warm, witty and wonderful women" aged 35+, The Hoopla is billed as an intelligent and entertaining online forum and news magazine. 

The brainchild of media personality Wendy Harmer, publisher Jane Waterhouse of Sister Communications and former Notebook: magazine editor Caroline Roessler, the site already has a number of high-profile personalities on board, including news journalist Jessica Rowe, who writes about being fired from Network 10 (coincidentally, on the same day Ten has announced a number of job cuts), entertainer-come-child activist Noni Hazlehurst, journalist Angela Catterns, Biance Dye, cook Maggie Beer, InStyle magazine editor Kerrie McCallum, comedian Judith Lucy and politician Cheryl Kernot.

"We wanted to create a forum for news, opinion, advice, stories and create a community that connects these women and shares their passion and interests," says Waterhouse.

Additionally, contributing their views to the site's topical 'On the Highwire' segment will be a group of admired Australian women, including Mary Moody, Natasha Stott-Despoja, Kerry Chikarovski, Carmen Lawrence, Jane Clifton, Catherine Lumby, Noeline Brown, Jean Kittson and Ethel Chop.

"The Hoopla is there for women to connect, have a laugh, discuss the issues that matter (and those that don't) but, most importantly, share their lives with other women from their generation," adds Harmer, who will deliver a weekly podcast called 'In the Loop' with Angela Catterns. "It's about celebrating their unique voice."

The site, says Harmer, aims to cater specifically to mature Australian women who "are not catered for in commercial talk radio and marginalised online" (here's hoping it doesn't degenerate into a funnel for "angry women's business"!), while the site itself was brought to life by the boys at Feel Creative.

"Wendy Harmer and Jane Waterhouse have been working on this idea after hours for about 12 months but we seriously started to move on it earlier this year when the girls asked me to join this amazing venture (and adventure!)," says Roessler.

In the news/general interest women's landscape, the site will be competing with, which currently attracts 240,000+ unique visitors each month, in addition to Kidspot's properties, which sold to News Corp last week, as well as traditional mastheads, such as The Australian Women's Weekly, which have been slow to generate significant online traction, and other smaller independent women's blogs.

"If you take this leap of faith with us, I can assure you that we will repay you with our time and energy in the creation of an independent, intelligent and unique voice for Australian women," writes Harmer in her letter of introduction. "Here’s hoping that becomes a daily habit. We’ll be doing our best to inform, entertain and delight every one of you, every day. We’re expecting a ride of thrills and spills, however as we are already fond of saying here at TheHoopla… Alley – Oop!"

Sounds like a hoot. My one qualm: why make it generational? Can't we all be invited to the party?

Girl With a Satchel


wendy harmer said...

Of course everyone is welcome into The Hoopla tent!

But there does come a time when perhaps the kids are a bit older, or one is trying to get back into the workforce as a mature woman.

One's interests shift throughout life. This is inescapable.

For instance women in the "sandwich generation" have their unique concerns.

But by no means is The Hoopla out to exclude anyone! All are very, very welcome and thanks for the lovely mention.

As for "angry women"? Listen to Ange and Wendy in theLoop and I hope you have a laugh to brighten your day - whatever your age.
Wendy Harmer.

Anonymous said...

Erica, what do you mean by "angry women's business"?

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

"Angry women's business" - I knew that would attract some interest! My concern here is the often vitriolic nature of frustrations aired on the internet, where the focus is less on hating circumstances, more hating on the individual (as per 'Bringing Darkness to Light' - see link below), in addition to the negative-gearing of so much women's content. Of course, there should be a healthy and lively public discourse about what's happening in the world of women, and complacency/sweeping matters under the rug gives all kinds of wrongs an excuse to run rampant, together with the negative implications of bottled up frustrations. But the discussion does often degenerate into angry talk, as apposed to a reasoned, diplomatic and tempered approach to the matters at hand, which encourages understanding and empathy in a broader context. Perhaps that's necessary: fighting fire with fire, as with the SlutWalk to acknowledge shame? Far be it from me to stifle anyone's voice or thoughts, as this blog has allowed mine to run their course, but when things are persistently shouty/angry/negative, it often creates a sense of uncertainty and anxiety rather than relief and understanding, which to my mind lessens the opportunity for growth. Thoughts? I'm happy to enter into a discourse.