The Westender is now twenty-one years old.
Part of the community, we just keep getting younger as new journalists, designers and artists come on board to keep the flag flying. We are proud to work with local design house Text and Image who have produced our new look.
You don’t get to be this young, though, without a bit of a back story. Founding editor Kerrod Trott lets a few secrets out of the bag …
In 1992 I was running a desktop publishing and marketing bureau – Perfect Pitch, no less – in Thomas Street (and living at Rio Grande in Vulture St) when my business partner and I had the great idea of starting a local newspaper as a showcase for our design and writing skills. We had one John Jiggens (aka John Freemarijuana) as our founding editor.
I’d been involved with community publishing in the 80’s when I lived on a Multiple Occupancy outside Lismore, working on the Northcoaster and publishing my own title, Incredible Times.
Thus was the Westender born – before there was a Quest newspaper in the area, before Brian Laver started his Neighbourhood News, and long before the glossy West End Magazine.
Fast forward to 1999, when I returned back to West End after a lengthy pilgrimage to ashrams, temples and holy sites in India. Out of work, and at a loss for something to do. I know, I said to myself, I’ll start the Westender again!
This, the second incarnation of the Westender, ran for several years and dominated the market. We had a delightful newspaper war running with Brian Laver and his Neighbourhood News, swapping insults in print and spreading the most scurrilous gossip about each other.
I had to cease publishing the Westender for personal and financial reasons and get a couple of real jobs to pay off my bills.
Then, in 2009, I was persuaded by a business acquaintance to re-commence publication. The third incarnation of the Westender was as a colour magazine, with a print run of up to 43,000 and letterbox dropped to homes throughout inner Southern Brisbane. We briefly ran on a weekly schedule, before the 2011 Brisbane floods dealt a body blow to the local business community and advertising revenue dried up.
(The Westender has never received any funding, its sole source of income has always been the support of the local business community, and the support of the creative local community.)
We managed to bring out a couple of special editions – usually at election time – but never quite recovered.
Here we are now in 2013 and, with a new business partner in Geoff Ebbs, the Westender is back in print, incarnation number four.