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The Newsletter was founded in 1977 by the late Mrs Nan Walker, MBE, MA, FRSA (Scot) and was edited by her for the first twenty years.
There had been a thin broadsheet local newspaper, the "Kinross-shire Advertiser", published since 1847, but it was bought over by a Fife newspaper in 1970, in which Kinross news was reduced to about half a column.
As a Community Councillor, Mrs Walker had complained at a CC meeting that no-one knew what the Community Council was doing or discussing, so she was given the job of producing a Newsletter, with the warning that "it would have to wash its face financially." Fellow Community Councillor Rosemary Sowerby offered to help and be responsible for the finances. One Community Councillor was heard to whisper to his neighbour, "I'll give it six months."
The first issue of the Newsletter in July 1977 cost 5p and ran to 12 small (A5-sized) pages. Almost 500 copies were sold. By October there were two folds of printed advertising and a waiting list, so typed adverts were included as well. Various ladies volunteered to join the typing pool. The printing was done in Auchterarder by A D Garrie and Son. To save money, Garrie printed the cover for six months at a time and Nan and Rosemary wrote the month and year on each of the 500 copies every month.
By 1979 the Newsletter had grown to 28 small pages selling 700 copies at 10p. By then the main aims were becoming more distinct:
To tell the community what the CC was doing
To keep the name of "Kinross-shire" alive
To help local organisations to let everyone know about their activities
To be a link between individuals and the community - this included letters, congratulations and obituaries
By 1983 the circulation of the Newsletter had risen to 1200 copies. It cost 20p and contained 36 small pages of text and 21 pages of block advertising. In 1984 the first illustrated cover appeared. June 1989 saw the last of the wee fat issues as the Newsletter changed to A4 format.
In 1997 Nan Walker retired as editor and Ian Thomson and Isabel Gillon took over as joint editors. Ian and Isabel had both been involved in the Newsletter since 1992, in the roles of layout assistant and editorial assistant respectively. As joint editors, Isabel dealt with the traditional editing and proof-reading side of things, while Ian's main responsibility was the technology and production side. For the first 20 years of its life the Newsletter had been produced,
literally, by cutting and pasting, i.e. articles were typed on various typewriters by different people and then pasted on to sheets.
Ian brought the Newsletter into the computer age by producing the whole magazine using desk top publishing software. Even so, this was still well before broadband and widespread e-mail use, and there was some to-ing and fro-ing around the county with floppy disks. Over the past ten years the percentage of contributions coming in direct by e-mail has grown enormously, which presents different sorts of challenges in handling and presenting the information.
In January 2009 we started having the Newsletter ´perfect bound´ (with a glued spine, rather than staples), which means there is no longer a limit to the number of pages inside. Nowadays it is typically 108 pages each month, including 50 or so pages of display advertising. Circulation is around 2,150 copies per month.
Isabel retired in 2005 and Ian in 2006. There have been many, many people involved with the Newsletter over its lifetime so far. Some of the roles have been: typists, treasurers, assistant editors, lay-out assistants, distributors and advertising managers, most of which were done on a completely voluntary basis in the early days. We are indebted to them all and hope to produce a list of them in future.