HAPPY BIRTH­DAY TO A FAB­U­LOUS PA­PER

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - Martin Turner In­au­gu­ral Ed­i­tor, Western Sub­urbs Weekly

THE big­gest sur­prise about the start of Western Sub­urbs Weekly was that it hap­pened at all. I was hardly the only one to re­alise the po­ten­tial for cre­at­ing a more de­fin­i­tive state­ment in the area with a news­pa­per that re­lated to the as­pi­ra­tions and achieve­ments of its pop­u­la­tion.

There were var­i­ous soft and hard sells to man­age­ment from ed­i­to­rial and sales lead­er­ship at News Chron­i­cle, a small pa­per that was drift­ing in a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

But it’s one thing to put your case, an­other to get your way (I’m the WA me­dia sec­tion pres­i­dent of the jour­nal­ists’ union, the Me­dia En­ter­tain­ment & Arts Al­liance, so I know what I’m talk­ing about). Ev­ery­thing moved very quickly af­ter the clo­sure of Perth Weekly. The opportunity was too good to waste and sud­denly we were thrust into the process of cre­at­ing a high-end pub­li­ca­tion with a com­mu­nity feel. A team of con­trib­u­tors had to be as­sem­bled, some who are still with WSW all these years later. There was a cer­tain awe in watch­ing the de­sign and mar­ket­ing as­pects com­ing to­gether. Is this re­ally hap­pen­ing? What have we done? What will we do once it starts?

Well, there wasn’t re­ally time to think too hard about the lat­ter ques­tion. We went from a pa­per that was of­ten 20 pages to a mon­ster that was reg­u­larly four or five times that size. My foun­da­tion re­port­ing staff of Si­mone Con­si­dine and Gabrielle Knowles were strain­ing to gather all the sto­ries and con­tacts in their reper­toire from grow­ing up in the area. As a grad­u­ate of John XXIII Col­lege and UWA I knew the lo­cale but not the way those young women did.

Of course, the Perth Weekly con­nec­tion meant there was a big em­pha­sis on those cen­tre so­cial pages and my for­mer class­mate An­thony von Leon­hardi guarded the look and style of his pages with great pas­sion.

Five years proved plenty for me at the helm, but as a Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group sub-ed­i­tor it’s pleas­ing to watch the tra­di­tion con­tinue. The pa­per has evolved and im­proved, with Denise S. Cahill well and truly es­tab­lished in the ed­i­tor’s chair. But many el­e­ments of that orig­i­nal tem­plate re­main.

It sug­gests we’ve struck a con­nec­tion with the western sub­urbs com­mu­nity and why change a win­ning for­mula. Happy birth­day, Western

Sub­urbs Weekly. I hope to be around for a few more yet.

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