Big local news as community paper Plantagenet News marks 1000th edition

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
The 1000th edition of Plantagenet News.
Camera IconThe 1000th edition of Plantagenet News.

The Plantagenet News has marked a major milestone this week, having kept residents in the Shire connected for 1000 editions.

The first edition was printed 41 years ago in May 1980, and while a lot has changed in the world of newspapers in that time, a team of volunteers are keeping the newspaper alive.

“The first editions were on foolscap paper and put through a Gestetner, and only 12 pages and stapled together,” chair Pat Ballantyne said.

“It has changed a bit in its time because it has had to otherwise we wouldn’t be here. I hope it connects the community.”

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The team delivers 2300 free copies around Mt Barker every fortnight.

The paper is also posted to about 40 people, mainly former residents, and delivered to Kendenup, Narrikup and Rocky Gully.

But it is no easy task getting it there, and Ms Ballantyne said volunteers kept the paper going — including two people on accounts, two compositors, five editors, and a group of 15 to 20 that do the folding and put the paper together.

“All the material we use is contributed by locals, we don’t have a reporter,” she said.

“We have contributors from sporting clubs and associations and things that happen around the village.

“On one week we composite the paper, put it together and take the emails and the adverts, and email it off to the printers, and the other week we distribute copies.

“Our only income is from our advertising.”

The paper has been able to remain free, and she said they intended to keep it that way.

“From time to time we look at if we are going to do the hard copy, but our community has told us very strongly that’s how they want it,” Ms Ballantyne said. “At times we have gone close to having to worry about staying financial, but thanks to our local advertisers we have kept going.”

The 1000th edition featured a special commemorative wrap. An open house was held at PN headquarters to mark the milestone.

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