On the Walford Gazette Making it to 25: ‘An Element of Freedom Not Beholden to Anyone’

       

By Larry Jaffee

A recent New York Times Magazine article titled “Why the Internet Didn’t Kill Zines,” captures perfectly why the Walford Gazette has entered its 25th year publishing continuously on a quarterly basis.

Karen Gisonny is the periodicals librarian at the New York Public Library and specialises in alternative publications and zines. She’s quoted by the Times writer Jenna Wortham that zines allow for an “element of freedom that’s not beholden to anyone.”

Wortham says, “We think of the web as a place for freedom, but with zines, authors control every aspect, from the design to the distribution.” She concludes, “And it perhaps reflects why zines can feel so much more intimate than a Facebook post. The deliberation and care that goes into making them is important.”

That’s exactly how I view this milestone. The Walford Gazette is barely a break-even proposition and the epitome of “a labour of love.” Last year’s revenue was off by a third and about $3,000 from 2015. Meanwhile, postage costs have doubled in the past decade. Most other publishers would have killed it years ago.

Over the years, it’s prevented me from collecting unemployment insurance after twice being laid off from six-figure publishing jobs.

The Walford Gazette is a calling. I view each issue as my art. I look forward to reader reactions, and am especially grateful to my subscribers and writer contributors.

I was also very pleased to join forces this issue with BritBox to help promote a much-needed service, especially at this time that public television is threatened. With always being pressed for time, as I’ve reinvented myself as an academic and maintain a busy freelance writing business, I’d honestly love to turn over the reins of the Gazette to someone else who also has the calling and keen interest in EastEnders. It takes gumption to put out a zine in the digital age.

If you’re interested, please get in touch by emailing me at walfordgazette@gmail.com. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this issue.