Community to bring Traf News back to life

Brains trust: Michael Fozard and Ric Nicholson are excited to see Traf News back in time for December. Photograph: Liam Durkin



THE local Trafalgar community newspaper Traf News has been resurrected.

After a brief hiatus this year, the free monthly publication is set to hit letterboxes next month.

A slight rebrand will see the masthead change to Traf District News, heralding in a slightly new era for the newspaper that has been a staple part of the Trafalgar and surrounding community for more than 20 years.

Mounting financial pressure forced the newspaper into recess in April, which had many fearing an eventual wind up was inevitable.

With newspapers reliant on advertising to stay in business, and with the pandemic forcing most businesses to cut costs, Traf News was met with an unfortunate perfect storm.

While most newspapers of similar distribution went under during the pandemic, Traf News decided to keep printing – a decision that perhaps only caught up with them earlier this year.

However, going into recess allowed those behind the scenes to take stock and recalibrate, looking at options for the future.

As fate would have it, Traf News also ran into some very good luck along the way.

Upon hearing the newspaper’s plight, retired Traf local Trevor Colvin saw that his expertise could be put to use.

Mr Colvin had previously spent a lifetime working at The Age – in advertising no less – and suddenly, Traf News was in full swing once again.

You really can strike gold sometimes.

Mr Colvin made the bold ambition to get a December issue out, and while some thought he was blindly optimistic, Traf District News is set to be distributed in a matter of weeks.

A 24-page issue is being put together, while a new and invigorated committee sees fellow Trafalgar local Ric Nicolson and well-known community advocate Michael Fozard, who seems to be in every local initiative, collaborating to get pages to press.

Mr Fozard said it was an exciting new chapter for Traf News.

“We’re getting very good support from advertisers, and we are getting articles from people. It is surprising how many people are saying ‘we want to put something in’,” he said.

“I’ve always felt that one of the real things we were losing in our community was this ability to be able to communicate.

“People want to find out about local, people are interested in finding out about local.”

As with any comeback, there is the chance things won’t go exactly to plan, although Mr Fozard said he was confident the new group could make it work.

“People are glad to see it come back, the history of the paper was set up back when it was (late 1990s by Mick Bourke OAM), it has got an incredible reputation by the locals, but we would like to expand it a little bit more, and that’s why we’ve called it Traf District,” he said.

“We want to include the surrounding areas, it’s a real combining of the communities that are in our immediate area – I suppose you can say the old Narracan Shire.”

A smooth transition has occurred from the previous Traf News committee, who have handed over the accounts and office space to Fozard and co.

The December issue will more or less be a test run to see whether or not an ongoing monthly publication in 2024 is sustainable.

A meeting held recently at Trafalgar Park Bowls Club to discuss the relaunch of Traf News was well attended, giving organisers further confidence.

To help the relaunch, a GoFundMe page has been established to enable the new group to purchase updated equipment.

Those wishing to donate can search ‘Bringing Traf News back to life’.

Traf News has been the place many future journalists got their start, including the current Latrobe Valley Express Editor.

Actually, the Express editor never technically left Traf News.

Knowhow: Trafalgar local Trevor Colvin comes with an extensive working history with The Age. Photograph supplied