There's a new Australian women's media property in town: TheHoopla.com.au. 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 mamamia.com.au, 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 TheHoopla.com.au 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