Bendigo Addy front page 'draws' huge interest

An entirely hand-written and illustrated Bendigo Advertiser front page in honour of the 2014 Bendigo Writers Festival has 'drawn' incredible interest across Australia.

The front page become the talk of social media on Thursday night.

Trends Australia reported the Bendigo Advertiser and @bgoaddy were trending across the country soon after the page was posted on Twitter and Facebook.

We had the idea for the page in 2013 but for various reasons had to sit on the concept until this year.

Putting a page such as this together certainly presented its challenges to Bendigo Advertiser staff.

A hand-writing test among staff identified court reporter Riahn Smith as the lucky one to get the task of writing out the body copy for the lead and picture story.

Riahn had plenty of practice runs before nailing the copy and the headlines in her cursive style.

She then had to contend with a late breaking news item which forced a rewrite of one section - no problems!

The famous Bendigo Advertiser banner was the work of news director Ashley Fritsch who taped a print of page one to a front window and used Bendigo's natural light to trace the outline of the masthead before shading with a pencil.

The great thing about the page is that as the idea become known, more and more staff got involved, colouring a letter or offering advice.

Quite a few people had a crack at the front page headline 'Park Anger'.

And, yes, some of those were left handers, hence the pencil smudges which we thought about trying to rub out but with 'deadline' upon us decided it just made the page 'authentic'.

It was a true team effort and that was a great benefit for the newsroom.

It was an illustration sent to the Bendigo Advertiser by award-winning national cartoonist Peter Broelman on the Jack Lyons Facebook comments that proved the catalyst for the Bendigo Advertiser to attempt the 'entirely hand drawn' concept.

We had the idea to hand-write the body copy of the stories but not go for the totally hand drawn from words and pictures to the advertisements concept.

Broelman accepted the challenge of illustrating the top promo and the front page advertisements for Harvey Norman Computer Superstore and Eureka Garages and Sheds with great results.

The Bendigo Advertiser thanks both Eureka and Harvey Norman for agreeing to play a role in the front page. Their support has paid handsome dividends given the page was trending across Australia. 

One reader called on The Age to copy the Bendigo Advertiser idea for the Melbourne Writers Festival from August 21 with festival organisers replying: ''We would love that, such a great idea''.

At the end of the day this front page was to recognise and honour a craft close to our hearts and another great event in our city.

We wish the Bendigo Writers Festival well and thank everyone who has sent us messages of support and congratulations for this idea. 

We're glad we brightened up your day.

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