We took at look at the rest of Sydney’s Independent Media.

Posted by & filed under City Hub.

As the specterof tyranny casts a pall over
the inner city news landscape, what few heroes
still stand against the mighty
Murdoch Empire, fight tooth
and nail just to stay afloat in a
sea of vicious mediocrity.

Despite Rupert Murdoch’s
ubiquitous presence in Sydney
publishing with News Limited’s
the Inner West Courier, Southern
Courier, Wentworth Courier,
Central Magazine and Mx, other
independent underdogs have
shone their light on local
alternative content for decades
with skinnier budgets and
rebellious spirits.

South Sydney Herald
The SSH was founded
by Trevor Davies in 2002
and evolved out of several
antecedent publications
including the Roadrunner and
the Redfern-Chippo Herald.

The monthly newspaper,
published by the South Sydney
Uniting Church, survives on
the backs of several volunteer
writers, photographers,
commentators and distributors.

Managing Editor Andrew
Collis said: “Independent
media plays a valuable and
essential role, to give voice to
people sidelined by mainstream
media and commercial interests.

“The congregation saw an
opportunity to celebrate diverse
lives of people in South Sydney,
to encouragecommunity and to
counter negative stereotyping.”

The Big Issue
The fortnightly magazine has
a legacy of hard news, satirical
articles and light-hearted
profiles which often reveal the
human aspect of critical social

Sold in-person by street
vendors, the national
publication started in the UK
before migrating to Australia
in 1996.

While it receives
significant support from
charities, The Big Issue maintains
a DGR (Deductable Gift
Recipient) status and its day-today
operations are sustainable
through sales alone.

Half of the sales from the
30,000 circulation immediately
goes to assisting the socially
disadvantaged vendor by
providing him or her with
opportunities to develop social
skills and connections.

The magazine will soon
celebrate its 400th issue.

Star Observer
Originally the Sydney Star
Observer, the lesbian and
gay newspaper was founded
in 1979 when homosexuality
was illegal.

The Sydney Star
Observer – or the Sydney
Star as it was known – was
one of the few underground
outlets that catered to gay
men providing them with
community news and opinions.

The Star changed publishing
hands several times before
going public in 1988. Since
then, the paper’s publishing
structure has favoured
community ownership.

Late last year the Star went
national with a dedicated paper
covering Brisbane. Publisher
Scott Abrahams said the
expansion into the Queensland
Market was a natural

“It was natural when looking
at ways of expanding the reach
of the product. There were
certainly strategic business
reasons for the move that will
unfold as time progresses,” he

The Star Observer has a
strong reputation within the
LGBT community and is
usually the first port of call
for larger news organisations
seeking updates on lesbian and
gay issues.
The Star Observer’s main rival,
SX is a privately owned weekly
glossy publication which caters
to a younger demographic of
LGBT Sydney.

Less focused on controversial
community news, SX typically
covers light celebrity centred
stories in its free pages.

The magazine’s owners
Evolution Publishing
attempted to publish a second
paper called City Voice in
June 2010 to compete with the
Star Observer’s Wednesday
publishing date.

But after a year, City Voice ceased to be,
mainly for financial reasons.
General Manager of
Evolution Publishing, Dean
Bell, pegged City Voice’s
failure to overlapping content.”

There was a great deal of
overlap with SX and City
Voice and it did not meet the
revenue targets that we set for
the product,” he said.

Lesbians on the Loose or
LOTL as its affectionately
known, is a free monthly
magazine which first published
as an eight-page newsletter
in 1989. Owned by Avalon
Media, it caters to Sydney’s
lesbian community which
Aside from covering Lesbian
‘scene’ events (parties in
Lesbian bars), the magazine
emphasises well-being and
lifestyle issues. Think Healthy
Wealth and Wise, but lesbian.
Food and wine, travel and
tourism, home and garden
issues tend to get a better run
than hard news or political
LOTL is regarded as more
‘rainbow family orientated’
with less sexualised
photography than its male

Drum Media
Known as the Drum by its
125 000-strong readership,
the free weekly publication
has been running for 15 years
and is generally regarded as
the oldest independent music

Album reviews, band
interviews, opinion columns
and the all-important events
listing dominate its pages.

The Drum is distributed in
cafes and restaurants and
almost exclusively targets the
17-35 age bracket. Owned by
Street Press Australia, The
Drum is considered essential
reading for the gig conscious
inner west resident.

The Beast
The Beast introduced its 40-
page magazine to the eastern
suburbs in February 2005
when its producers saw a gap
in the market.

Publisher Dan Hutton said:
“We thought there was a lack
of good print media focusing
on the stretch of beaches
between Bondi and Maroubra,
incorporating the whole

We put together a
rough design of the mag in
InDesign and went out and
pounded the pavement selling

Mr Hutton said he tries to
make the magazine interesting
and accessible to all readers.

“I still believe there is a future for
print media, particularly in the
format in which we present it.”

Green Left Weekly
The grassroots publication is
sold on Sydney’s footpaths
by volunteers and promotes
itself as an alternative to ‘big
business media’.

According to co-editor Stuart
Munckton, the Green Left
Weekly’s editorial board is run
independently, but the Socialist
Alliance is mainly responsible
for “getting the paper out there”.

“Though many of the writers
are members, the Green Left
Weekly aims to publish a
broader range of progressive
views and struggles than
the Socialist Alliance,” Mr
Munckton said.

“I don’t think ‘objective’
means you don’t have to take
a side. Being objective means
basing your article on the

By Jason Marshall and Alex Pittaway