Vic regional papers take hit in News Corp overhaul

28 May 2020

Written by: Madeline Donis

News Corp Australia has announced a significant restructuring which will cease publication of some of its suburban papers and move most other community papers to digital format.

Cost-cutting efforts announced by News Corp Australia today means that the following Victorian Leader titles will cease print publication and will not be moving to a digital format: Manningham, Preston, Diamond Valley, Heidelberg, Sunbury, Macedon, Progress and Northcote.

Coverage for these areas will now be included in the larger masthead print and digital publications. Job losses are expected.

While News Corp is “regretful” of the subsequent job losses, the exact number of which is still unclear, Miller said that more than 375 journalists will continue working solely for the titles in their digital format.

A total of 76 newspapers will cease printing and become digital only. Whittlesea, Mornington Peninsula, Lilydale and Monash Leaders are among the 21 Melbourne and Victorian News Corp Australia publications that will move to a digital format from June 29 2020.

When the shift to digital was announced, News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller said that COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing due to a steep decline in print advertising.

“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,” he said.

“News Corp remains committed to Australia’s regions and communities and the initiatives we are implementing today represent a detailed, considered strategy to ensure we will better serve our journalism to Australians who live outside its major cities,” he said.

Miller expressed his thanks to the departing News Corp staff for their “professionalism, dedication and contribution”.

“They have provided News with invaluable years of service. Their passionate commitment to the communities in which they live and work and their role in ensuring these have been informed and served by trusted local media has been substantial,” he said.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said that these closures represent a “huge loss” for communities in regional and suburban Australia, and will require News Corp to engage in full consultation while implementing these changes.

“We are still waiting for clarity from the company on how many editorial staff will be affected by these changes across the News Corp network. We are determined to see proper consultation and fair treatment for any affected staff,” he said.

 


Photo: Printing Machine by Bank Phrom available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.