News Corp Australia has today announced plans to shut down print publications of 115 mastheads across the country, including 22 regional publications that will cease to exist digitally.
The move follows the US-owned group's suspension of 60 community titles in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and there are reports 500 jobs or more could be lost as a result.
Most of the community and regional titles to stop physical publishing will become digital-only, supporting major mastheads from the capital cities that will become more state-focused.
The move, set to be implemented by 29 June, is in response to declining print advertising revenues which contribute the majority of News Corp's revenue.
News Corp has promised local journalism coverage will continue in areas where local mastheads will be removed under their regional or city-based title.
"COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing," says News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller.
"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.
"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."
The group says it will employ more digital-only journalists while making investments in digital advertising and marketing solutions for its partners.
Miller says the initiatives announced today are significant and will involve fundamental changes to how News Corp operates its business.
Major regional titles The Hobart Mercury, NT News, Cairns Post, Townsville Bulletin, Gold Coast Bulletin, Toowoomba Chronicle and Geelong Advertiser will continue to publish both in print and digitally, as well as metropolitan mastheads such as The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Advertiser.
The following small print newspapers will cease publication:
- 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;
- Central Telegraph;
- Coastal Views;
- Northern Rivers Echo;
- Richmond River Express Examiner;
- Tasmanian Country;
- Big Rigs;
- Rural Weekly;
The company also made the following announcement about regional titles that will become digital-only:
- 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;
- Bowen Independent;
- Atherton Tablelander;
- Northern Miner; Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette;
- Burdekin Advocate;
- Tweed Daily News;
- Ballina Advocate;
- Byron Shire News;
- Coffs Coast Advocate;
- Grafton Daily Examiner;
- Lismore Northern Star;
- The Centralian Advocate;
News Corp will also move the following community titles to be digital-only news services:
"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 and 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."
On a more positive note, three Sydney community titles distributed in the city's most affluent suburbs - Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily and North Shore Times - will resume print editions.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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