News Corp Australia shutters regional papers

By Elliott Richardson and Jonas Lopez in Media News on

News Corp Australia logoNewsCorp Australia has dealt a massive blow to local news coverage after it announced a closing of 14 community newspapers and 22 regional papers, and a transition to digital for a further 100.

The content that some of the soon-to-be-closed titles carry will be reassigned to other mastheads.

The transition and closures come as the latest in a line of local news shutdowns, impacting thousands of journalists.

For many regional towns and cities, locals have long-relied on their local newspaper to keep them informed of important stories and events. 

While some will transfer to digital in order to keep the papers alive, many residents aren’t in the position to pay for a NewsCorp digital subscription, restricting their access to important local news.

Closures and digital transitions will come into effect on 29 June, as outlined below. Metro papers The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Melbourne Herald Sun, and The Adelaide Advertiser will be tweaked to carry more state content.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the COVID-19 situation, lower ad revenues, and an increasing interest in digital subscriptions warranted the move.

“COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing.  Despite the audiences of News Corp’s digital mastheads growing more than 60 per cent as Australians turned to trusted media sources during the peak of the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, print advertising spending which contributes the majority of our revenues, has accelerated its decline,” he said.

“Consequently, to meet these changing trends, we are reshaping News Corp Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving and to strengthen our position as Australia’s leading digital news media company. This will involve employing more digital only journalists and making investments in digital advertising and marketing solutions for our partners.”

Community newspapers being axed: 

Leader titles in Victoria - Manningham, Preston, Diamond Valley, Heidelberg, Sunbury Macedon, Progress and Northcote; NewsLocal NSW’s Rouse Hill Times; Quest in Queensland - Northside Chronicle/Bayside Star, North-West News, South-East Advertiser, Southern Star, and the Bribie Weekly; and SA’s Messenger Coast Plus.

Regional titles being axed: 

Queensland’s Buderim Chronicle, Caloundra Weekly, Capricorn Coast Mirror, Coolum News, Nambour Weekly, Ipswich Advertiser, Kawana/Maroochy Weekly, Gold Coast Sun, Hervey Bay Independent, Maryborough Herald, Balonne Beacon, Surat Basin News, Herbert River Express, Innisfail Advocate, and the Central Telegraph; NSW’s Coastal Views, Northern Rivers Echo, and the Richmond River Express Examiner; Tasmania’s Tasmanian Country, and specialist titles Big Rigs, Rural Weekly, and Seniors.

Regional papers for digitisation:

Queensland - Mackay Daily Mercury, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Gladstone Observer, Bundaberg News Mail, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily, Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News, Central and North Burnett Times, Central Queensland News, Chinchilla News, Dalby Herald. Gatton Star, Noosa News, South Burnett Times, Stanthorpe Border Post, Western Star, Western Times, Whitsunday Times, Whitsunday Coast Guardian and Bowen Independent.  

The Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin will carry area content from Atherton Tablelander, Northern Miner, Post Douglas & Mossman Gazette, and Burdekin Advocate.

The Tweed Daily News, Ballina Advocate, Byron Shire News, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner, and Lismore Northern Star in NSW are also on digital, as would NT’s The Centralian Advocate.

The News Corp Australia community titles to be digitised are also extensive.  

Melbourne Leader titles - Stonnington, Mornington Peninsula, Knox, Whitehorse, Monash, Northern, Whittlesea, Maroondah, Moorabbin, Mordialloc Chelsea, Moreland, Lilydale and Yarra Valley, Frankston, Bayside, Caulfield Port Phillip, Cranbourne, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong, Wyndham; 

NewsLocal in NSW/ACT - Fairfield Advance, Penrith Press, Macarthur Chronicle, Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury Bankstown Express, Central Coast Express, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Liverpool Leader, Manly Daily, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Inner West Courier, Southern Courier, Illawarra Star, Wagga Wagga News, St George Shire Standard, Canberra Star, Newcastle News, Blue Mountains News, Central Sydney, South Coast News; 

Quest in Queensland - Albert and Logan News, Caboolture Herald, Westside News, Pine Rivers Press, Redcliffe and Bayside Herald, South-West News, Wynnum Herald, North Lakes Times, Redlands Community News, Springfield News;

Messenger in SA - Messenger South Plus; Messenger East Plus, Messenger North, Messenger West, Messenger City, Adelaide Hills and Upper Spencer Gulf.

However, The Hobart Mercury, NT News, Cairns Post, Townsville Bulletin, Gold Coast Bulletin, Toowoomba Chronicle, and Geelong Advertiser will still continue publishing print material, while Sydney titles the Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily, and North Shore Times will resume print publication.

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