Around Laverton has printed its last community newspaper, after more than 40 years of flying the flag for citizen journalism in Melbourne’s West, with its passionate volunteers and loyal readers contributing to the paper’s success over many years.
The community newspaper made the announcement in a post to social media where they thanked all of their volunteers over the years, making mention of those who quite literally walked the news to the doorsteps of local homes and businesses.
“We have been blessed over the years with many loyal and supportive walkers and bulk deliverers who, once a month over many years since the 1970’s, have given up their time to ensure that our paper reaches as many readers as possible,” they said.
“As many of you have noticed, our physical paper has suffered in recent years. This year, due to lack of new office volunteers and family and health issues for the current volunteers, we have been unable to survive in our current format.”
It is understood Around Laverton had made several attempts to revive its operation and were hoping to receive an injection of interest at a recent annual general meeting, however there were no new attendees.
“Regrettably we have had to close our physical doors. The paper will continue as a Facebook entity and we will strive to provide you with ongoing news in and around the Laverton area as well as linking with other local pages,” they said.
“We are still trying to find a viable solution to restore the physical paper, but in the meantime, we would be very happy to receive any relevant news and information via our Facebook page.”
Carolyn Johnson is one of many people saddened to learn that the print edition of Around Laverton will be no longer, telling Willy and Hobby she was one of the original people who started the newspaper, alongside its founder.
“John Circosta was a Youth Worker then and it was him that started the paper. He was working for TRY Youth and Community Services. I later on worked for them for ten years,” Ms Johnson said.
“One of the kids that helped at the beginning was Daryl Stephenson who is now married with two adult sons. Lorraine Finley became editor after I left. Such very sad news, but what wonderful memories.”
The Around Laverton founding member has since moved to Western Australia, where she has spent the last twenty years, and is retired except for being a professional Genealogist who runs a successful Australian Genealogy online community with over 7,500 members.
Carolyn Johnson has, however, managed to ensure that her passion for local news was passed on to her nephew Steve Grant who is a leading reporter with a community newspaper Fremantle Herald.
An end of an era for Around Laverton is a reminder to those quick to click for sponsored spaces, as supporting local business includes local media businesses. It is evident, now more than ever, they need as much help as they often are inclined to provide others.