By the community, for the community
The Westsider, aka The Voice of the West, is Australia’s largest monthly community run, printed newspaper! In just two years, an eclectic bunch of volunteers has filled, printed and delivered more than 150,000 copies of this little soapbox that talks wholly about us: life stories of locals that would never have reached beyond the kitchen table; the mysterious little bits of business hidden away in sheds, attics, leaky garages and down that alley; what’s happening in our schools, our art galleries, our theatres; which Westies have got dirt under their fingernails, smiles on their lips or tears in their eyes; and sport, sport, sport. Along the way we have shared valuable skills with 500 long-term unemployed, coaxed and upskilled more than 100 local scribes out into the open - vital work that someone has to do, so why shouldn't it benefit this community?
The wired, wired West
And yes, for the screen jockeys, we back it up with an online version and dedicated social media channels and we are really good at it! But you can’t tear a photo off your laptop screen picturing a grinning Aunt Beryl showing her teacup collection and stick it on the fridge. You can’t use it to lift that dog poo off the front doormat before Keith slides his Crosbys through it on his sleepwalk to collect ghost mail from the front lawn. You can’t hide your head under it to lessen the effects of global warming while sunning on Willy beach. And you can’t disappear behind it when the kids demand a piggyback to bed ("Simon, you’re 22, when does this stop?"). There is nothing like the crisp crackle of a Westsider being unfolded, the smell of fresh ink, the stains on your fingertips as you soak up local news, insight into neighbourhood characters and how much the Ronson’s got for that dump of a house around the corner. That and much more is hidden in the pages of our much-loved placemat.
The Westsider stats!
- Audience reach - 25-30,000+ each month
7,000 - 10,000 issues printed monthly (depends on $$)
Printed newspapers distributed at shared community spaces where your customers/neighbours/kids hang out!
Data shows each issue is read an average of 2.5-3 times
Online version updated weekly
Current social media reach of 12,000+ on Facebook and Instagram
Suburbs we deliver to:
Footscray, West Footscray, Braybrook, Seddon, Yarraville, Spotswood, Kingsville, Williamstown, Sunshine, Newport, Altona and beyond when we can.
Writers, sub-editors, photgraphers, social media managers, finished artists, consultants, event reporters and more! They all pitch in every month to get this paper out!
How The Funds Will Be Used
Start the presses
Currently we print around 7,000 issues per month of between 20-24 pages. We want to make enough to pay for a year's worth of print and distribution, and also pay the Managing Editor/Operations Manager for 1 day per week. He has been volunteering for long enough.
To get the presses rolling again, and complete every issue without stress and be sustainable, our target is $35,000. That’ll keep us going for another year and means we can focus on consistancy, quality and delivery! It will also give us the opportunity to put into place some measures to make this a permanent thing.
11 print runs of 20-24 pages of 7,000 papers $22,000
Driver/distributor of papers - $5,500 (we currently pay someone $500 per month)
Managing Editor/Operations Manager for one year - $10,000
Anything we get beyond this amount can go toward more pages, promotions etc
As we have been running for 2 years, our only hurdle is not getting the funding we need to continue and set in place some measures for permanency! We still intend to be run by volunteers (along with our 1 day a week Managing Editor), and we're always looking for more locals to get involved either behind the scenes or as contributors!