News Corp closes 100 print newspapers in shift to digital media

Sad news this week, as News Corp Australia announces it will close the print editions of 100 of its regional and local community newspapers – moving instead to online-only editions. It will also close 14 of its newspapers altogether.

The decision could see up to a third of News Corp journalists losing their jobs, and up to 150 newsrooms closed around Australia.

Titles affected include Herald Sun, The Australian, Daily Telegraph, The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail, along with the local Leader newspapers.

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp, says it’s unfortunately a decision that’s been coming for some time, following years of struggle within the industry due to print advertising costs – but worsened recently by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Newspapers have also struggled to compete with the growing shift in readers migrating to Facebook and Google for their news.

It’s not only a dark day for journalism, but also ‘an immense blow to local communities,’ says MEAA (Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance) chief executive Paul Murphy.

Regional newspapers play such an important role in telling local stories and connecting communities – especially at a time like this.

I have been volunteering with local community paper Ferntree Gully News for the last 8 years, where it’s our goal to ‘build and strengthen community in Ferntree Gully by reporting on the stories and activities of local people and groups’; keeping our readers connected and informed.

Our paper is now in its tenth year, producing six edition a year with a distribution of 10,000 copies each time.

As sad as I am about the announcements made by News Corp, I’m hopeful that volunteer community newspapers like ours can step in to fill the gap, continue telling the stories.

We all have a part to play, and I’m so proud of Gully News and what we do.

Mary Farrow, president of CNAV (Community Newspaper Assocation of Victoria), says, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, but community newspapers have shown resilience and a ‘can-do’ attitude that will see them continue to be an important part of their communities for years to come.

‘We are still here, and we will continue to tell the stories of our towns into the future.’

You can lend your support by signing MEAA’s ‘Our Stories Matter’ petition here.

You can also find out more about Ferntree Gully News at our website.