A few words from the publisher ....
The Westender's winning the Community Action Network award for excellence in journalism & social media promoting social inclusion and equity last night got me thinking about my own passion for community publishing.
I first became involved with independent, community publishing back in the 80's, when I lived on a multiple occupancy outside Lismore, in Northern New South Wales.
Back in those days it was still a very conservative place, with the local paper the Northern Star a mouthpiece for the Country Party. There was a lot of community protest going on, however, around conservation and development issue - Nightcap Ranges, Nardi State Forest, etc - and it was felt that the progressive and green voices needed a public platform for their views, too, so I got involved with and helped run an independent community newspaper, the Northcoaster.
My role then, as it is now, was to create a wider audience for progressive and social justice views by liaising with the business community and seeking their support. I'd iron my shirt with a flat iron heated up on the wood stove, put on a suit and tie and wander around the businesses of the North Coast to sell advertising and gain support for the Northcoaster.
Thirty years on, and not a lot has changed. My main role at the Westender is still wandering around West End, chatting to people in coffee shops, dropping in on the small businesses and meeting people in the street.
It keeps the Westender going, and keeps me connected with my community.