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April 19, 2021

News Corp Australia to shut local newspapers

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News Corp announced today that it was shutting almost all of its regional and community newspapers from June 29 including the Byron Shire News, Ballina Advocate, Lismore Northern Star and Tweed Daily News.

News Corp announced today that it was shutting almost all of its regional and community newspapers from June 29. The Byron Shire News, Ballina Advocate, Lismore Northern Star and Tweed Daily News will all close and become online publications only, along with a host of other newspapers across the entire country, with ten exceptions.

Advertisers learnt of the impending closures in an email this morning from Jodi Graham, General Manager of Direct Sales. The closures follow a breakdown in talks about the sale of titles with Anthony Catalano, who runs about 160 of the ACM print and digital publications he purchased last year from Nine Entertainment Co (formerly Fairfax publications).

‘It is terribly sad to lose the Advocate. It has been an important glue for the Ballina community,’ said Ballina Shire Councillor Keith Williams this morning, speaking to Echonetdaily.

The loss to the Ballina community was also highlighted by Ballina Shire Councillor Jeff Johnson who told Echonetdaily that ‘The Advocate was full of local news stories and is how lots of people in Ballina source their local news.

‘A large proportion of the population is elderly and are not accessing information online. It is a sad day losing our weekly paper but at least we have got Echonetdaily.’

Tweed Mayor Katie Milne said ‘we’re devastated at the closure of the Tweed Daily News, it will be sorely missed as it has served the community well over the years. When any local newspaper closes down it reduces the services available to the community.

‘At least we still have the Tweed Valley Weekly and Echonetdaily we don’t want to be left with just a Gold Coast newspaper.’

Under severe financial pressure

Regional media owners have been under severe financial pressure in the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic as advertisers’ businesses were forced to close, with some businesses experiencing falls in advertising revenue of 30 to 50 per cent.

In recent years, most independent newspapers have closed or been purchased by either Fairfax (now part of Nine Entertainment Co), or Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The small number of independent newspapers left means that the closures by the biggest player will cause an unprecedented shake-up of the market.

In some cases, newspapers that had been a trusted source of news in their community for over a hundred years have been closed in a cost-cutting exercise. Whilst News Corp say that digital editions of publications will still exist, the closures have raised concerns about equity and accessibility to quality news for a broad audience, and the future of public interest journalism in Australia.

General Manager of Echo Publications, an independent publisher of Echonetdaily and the Byron Shire Echo, Simon Haslam, said that any reduction in the number of trusted news sources had negative consequences for society.

‘A number of people do not consume their news online, they rely on their regional and free community papers’, said Mr Haslam, ‘as those papers report on the issues which are of the greatest importance to each small community.

‘Newspapers play an important role in explaining public policy and matters of local significance, engaging citizens in public debate and informing democratic decision-making.’

Councillor Williams has told Echonetdaily that he looks ‘forward to working with The Echo to expand coverage of Ballina issues’ in the future to ensure a robust coverage of the area continues.

 

 

 


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23 COMMENTS

  1. The NORTHERN STAR will be missed by many, especially oldies who do not ‘do’ the internet.
    Those of us who have been reading it for decades will have noted the decline in its quality since the Fake NEWS LTD Factory took over. Despite this , the local content, diminishing though it was, will be missed.
    It probably would not matter who owned the papers( and we must remember that Rupert gave up his Australian citizenship to become a US citizen), they would have fallen over anyway given the changing nature of advertising.
    The ECHO takes on a new importance, perhaps?

  2. Mark Twain once remarked. “If you do not read the newspaper you’re uninformed, if you do read it, you will be misinformed”! With Murdoch newspapers, you’re more than misinformed, you’re manipulated! They will not be missed! We have the Tweed Byron Echo and Tweed Valley Weekly to provide for and inform our communities, that’s more than enough!

  3. Can the Byron Echo please print a weekly paper for Lismore/Ballina region to fill the gap? Use the same infrastructure you now have with a few extra staff, no competition, plenty of businesses that would still want to advertise in a “paper” and a community that is still interested in local news.

  4. The shutting down of the Tweed “Daily” News is excellent news. It was really just part of Herr Murdoch’s Australia -wide Ministry of Propaganda that acts as a promotional wing for the LNP. A mouthpiece for spreading Rupert’s personal message, such as climate-change is a hoax. We will all be better off without it.

  5. I always thought the Byron News was a backup so that I didn’t have to use the Echo to wrap up the fish scraps….. so I guess that’s a wrap for the Byron News.

  6. Don’t forget with all those regional closures comes a massive amount of people who will lose their jobs. Very sad !

  7. How wonderful & ironic that we STILL have the Echo Hooray ! We are MOST grateful & very relieved. We have just given regular monthly donations, everyone else PLEASE do the same thing. Our Echo (along with Nimbin Times) is the BEST local newspaper in the whole of this bogan nation. I copy & send articles to many friends across this country & they are forever telling me how lucky we are & how privileged I am to have an Independent & highly regarded local newspaper…I am very aware of this enlightened niche’ that supplies us with deep/free thinking & intimate knowledge of local politics & local issues impacting on us all. Thank You to all at the Echo…..a magical hub.

  8. The absolute dislike for the Murdoch newspapers
    Well is overwhelming!! However there are many
    Families that will be affected by those closures
    Just more job losses!! Very sad indeed .

  9. It’s not enough.
    Any cafe or local business still pushing Murdoch papers will be named and shamed this summer.
    Climate emergency deniers have no place here and won’t be tolerated any more.

  10. When Murdoch took over these mastheads a while back, the writing was on the wall. His only aims are making money and playing his own ruthless power games with whole societies. Good riddance to him.
    But I feel sorry for the older members of society in our region who have grown up with the Northern Star and relied on it for information through wars, floods, cyclones … and as they age, the funeral notices. Many don’t have the skills to go digital.
    Now is a perfect time for the Byron Echo to fill the gap. We all need to contribute financially to ensure this independent publication continues, and expands to fill a larger information role in our region. Donations are a good idea, but other avenues could be explored. Perhaps put a price on each issue? Pay a subscription?
    Pam

  11. The Ballina Advocate had become fascile and dull, so I am hoping something that can cater for the increasing numbers of progressives here will be able to emerge.

  12. Echo… I do hope the ABC is wrong for a change. To remove
    Echonetdaily will lead to even more rotten news & play into
    Murdoch’s game-plan. Many of us are NOT social media
    followers & I’m sure would be only too pleased to financially
    support the ‘daily’ in its present form. I second “COMMENT
    PLEASE”.

  13. Is that right Rob ? Well if you feel the need to name
    And shame anyone that has opinions or views opposite to your own especially the Murdoch newspapers or Climate change. Cant me in Rob
    To be one of those people . Free speech is alive and well Rob .. feel free to Name and shame me Rob !!
    And the Consequences will be the same every time
    ROB ..

  14. Yes Stefanie iam more than happy to support the
    Echonetdaily !! The Echo sure dos support
    Freedom of opinions views that they otherwise would not agree with . This is the Gold standard
    Never change Echo . Happy to support on a monthly basis..

  15. Most of you are complaining about them shutting down at the same time complaining about how bad they are and not reliable news? Yet you all still read it anyway and had the time allocated towards it.

    Stop crying and whining over something. If your business was going in losses would you still keep it running? Easy to be a rambo over a internet.

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