In 1997, Waltja set up a publications unit to provide culturally appropriate resources. This included a new magazine called Family News. In 2014, issue 58 was produced. Now a 36-page full colour magazine, Family News is distributed free of charge to all communities in our region. Family News gives communities an outlet for their news and a voice for their concerns. It is a way to share important information on the issues affecting community life. It is a resource for families in remote communities who have trouble accessing services that most people in the Northern Territory take for granted.
Lenny Hillman, Veronica James and Jessica Muir collect stories, photos and reports then layout Family News and submit it for print. This is one of the responsibilities of the Waltja media unit. They are also responsible for:
- Creation and maintenance of Waltja’s website
- Creation, maintenance and processing orders for the Waltja Online Store where customers can buy products from our social enterprise, Tjukurrpa Tjutangku.
- Social media campaigns, using FaceBook and Twitter, where we have been exploring how to share the positive stories from Family News and which come in from those involved with Waltja with a wider audience.
- Providing promotional materials about Waltja and our programs and services for publications
- Working with other organisations such as DesArt
- Managing the retail outlet for Tjukurrpa Tjutangku
- Supporting artists who paint diary covers or create other items for sale through Tjukurrpa Tjutangku
With support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Jane Clark from Netgrrl Web Development, Waltja has developed systems to improve all of its media and social enterprise operations. We have developed and use an online collaboration tool to help us keep track of the many areas of work, and we regularly review and improve our processes.
All three members of the media unit are working on business certificates, are involved in the business side of Waltja as well as the promotions and story-telling side. The skills gained along the way will put them in good stead for their future careers.
- Restructuring the way we work so that we can work on our strengths, as a collaborative unit.
- Organising the workspace so that we have good storage for the items for sale and a good cataloguing system. It is much easier now to do our job when people come to Waltja to buy art or when we get sales online.
- Getting feedback from customers when we run stalls at markets and conferences, such as DesertMob marketplace. Customers tell us they are really happy that local Aboriginal people are managing the stall and the sales.
- Jane Clark is a really good trainer and she helps the team to keep learning and improving their skills.
- Keeping up to date with changing technology.
- Managing all our different tasks and responsibilities. Our online collaboration tool is helping, with mentoring and training support.
- Supporting community people who want to learn about the technologies we are using, using social media and so on. We are gradually developing some resources to share about this, and also the unit members have mentored visitors from remote communities.