The biannual rankings are in, and there have been some significant changes to the top 10 list of the Diamond Valley’s most-trusted news sources. Following respectable placings of sixth and eighth in recent times, The Watsonia Bugle has slipped to a troubling ninth on the all-important table, with analysts suggesting that the Rick Bitter story from earlier this year severely impacted our newspapers perceived trustworthiness.

The latest top 10 is:

1. Monty Life 3094.

2. Eltham Life 3094.

3. Watsonia Community Voice.

4. Banyule Banner.

5. Jonno’s mum Barb from down the street.

6. Steve’s Aunty from over in Greensy.

7. Diamond Valley Leader.

8. Macleod Life.

9. The Watsonia Bugle.

10. Herald Sun.

Despite a rough week, Monty Life 3094 rightly held its ground as the gold standard for providing the community with reliable news and goings on, but it seems that other sources are closing in on the social media monolith. A particularly big mover was the relatively new Eltham Life 3094, which has leveraged a gap in the market to quickly build a thriving online community for the people of Eltham – going from being outside the top 10 to being ranked in the coveted second position.

And it seems Jonno’s mum Barb’s good intentions to “Cut the crap and stop gossiping so much” in 2019 has slightly fallen by the wayside, slipping from third position to fifth, and just one place above Steve’s Aunty from over in Greensy.

According to local media analyst Timothy McDaniels, the move towards community-based groups on Facebook is part of a global shift in the way people access and disseminate their daily news. He said, “The move towards geographically specific online groups has essentially been the perfect storm between the age-old desire to sticky beak on your neighbours and the all-powerful Facebook algorithm that tends to prioritise content from groups when it’s deciding what to serve onto your newsfeed.”

When we asked McDaniels what that meant for the future of The Watsonia Bugle he seemed reluctant to commit. He just said, “Well, if you want my expert opinion, you can pay for it. However, if you want a brief summary, in a word, I’d say you’re screwed.”