The other day a friend (who does read this paper) asked me what was the point of The Westsider. They were being half serious and a tad facetious I suspect, and I was about to launch into my usual spiel, and use words like ‘community’ and ‘inclusion’, when I stopped to think again genuinely about what this paper’s purpose really is.

If you’re reading it now you’re probably a bit like me – from the school that occasionally just needs to retreat to the world of ‘slow’ news, and enjoys the feel of paper between the fingertips. I know digital is the dominant communication format currently, but the paper’s success shows there is an appreciation for what we do and the opportunities our activities create.

Back to my friend’s question; why do we do it? My revised answer after some thought and reflection was this:

At the end of the day The Westsider might be a newspaper that wraps your peelings and fish heads before they go into the bin, or an online presence that you skim past fleetingly like all the others, but in the meantime it still works away on three levels.

  1. It provides a media access point for local business, organisations and groups to raise awareness about their activities and events. This is not to be taken lightly, and as you can see from the list on the left of the page, some serious establishments have partnered with us to take advantage of this and help provide the possibility to others.
  2. The 20-odd volunteers who help run this enterprise do it because they want to. They all have their own reasons; to connect, to upskill, to socialise, be published, provide a useful resource to the region, or simply for the excitement of being involved in something valuable and fun. What a great thing to be a part of – you can feel the pride whenever they talk about it.
  3. Finally, the content gives readers the chance to potentially learn something new, and if they are inspired, to act upon that knowledge. Whether that means attending an event, joining or donating to a cause, or absorbing the human element of a ‘real’ somebody’s story, depends on the person and the day.

What has been clear to me since the day I walked in is that The Westsider is for everyone – I hope you feel that too.

Derek Green,
Managing Editor, The Westsider



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