Victoria’s oldest newspaper the Geelong Advertiser celebrated its 175th anniversary on Thursday night with a dinner for 200 guests, including politicians, business leaders, athletes, and celebrities.
High-profile locals at the dinner included 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling, and Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons.
The event was hosted by Herald & Weekly Times chairman Penny Fowler.
Geelong Advertiser editor Nick Papps said the night was an opportunity to thank everyone who had supported the paper over the years.
“To celebrate 175 years is just a marvellous milestone. For a paper to be so relevant, and so engaged over so many decades, is absolutely wonderful,” he said.
“We’re very excited about our past, and excited about our future as well.”
Today’s edition of the paper had a souvenir wrap-around, with the look and feel of an old broadsheet paper. It is “today’s news told in the way of the past,” he said.
“We’re very excited about our past, and excited about our future as well.” – Geelong Advertiser editor Nick Papps
For inspiration, Mr Papps and his team looked at a 1969 copy of the paper. The wrap-around uses the same fonts and style.
“It just shows the power of the print medium to tell a story. It had so much going for it,” he said.
The Advertiser is encouraging readers to vote for the paper’s top 10 stories over the years. Voting will run for a week, and readers can have their say online.
It is also producing a 12-part magazine, celebrating the best of the Advertiser. The first magazine will be included in the Saturday paper tomorrow.
Mr Papps is proud of the paper’s active campaigning over the years. “We are a paper that passionately campaigns for its region. On our masthead it says ‘the voice of Geelong’, and we have been the voice of Geelong since 1840.”
The Advertiser, which is a multiple winner at the PANPA newspaper of the year awards, has had many campaigns over the years. Recently, it successfully campaigned to keep Avalon Airport open, and was also successful in getting a hospital for the northern suburbs.
However, it has also had success with smaller campaigns involving individuals, such as two-year-old Jack Copperwaite, who has the rare Crouzon syndrome. The paper ran stories to raise awareness of his condition and help with fund-raising.
“I think, for a newspaper, the most important thing is to support your community, to celebrate your community, shine a light in dark places, and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with our community every day, and that’s what we do.” – Geelong Advertiser editor Nick Papps
“There’s small things we can do, and change lives individually, and there’s big things we can do to change what governments do, and both are equally important to us, and they’re the reason we exist,” Mr Papps said.
“I think, for a newspaper, the most important thing is to support your community, to celebrate your community, shine a light in dark places, and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with our community every day, and that’s what we do.
“They’re the sorts of things we like doing, to make life better in this city for our people. And I think as long as you do that you’re always going to be relevant, and you’ll have a really bright future.”
For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.