Hans Lovejoy, editor
All Echo employees empathise with local News Corp employees who face an uncertain future.
US billionaire Rupert Murdoch and his overpaid News Corp CEOs believe that locally, the Byron News, the Northern Star, the Ballina Advocate and the Tweed Daily News are not worth the effort to print. They are some of the nearly one hundred titles that will no longer be published free, in glorious ink and paper. They will all sit behind a paywall from next month.
It’s yet another unconstrained ‘free market’ decision that seeks to maximise profit at the expense of the wider population. AAP news wire estimate the national job losses to be around 620, effective June 29. Ironically, AAP is part-owned by News Corp and is also scheduled to close.
It’s worth noting that the Lismore Echo, which was started by The Echo in 1991, then sold on to its employees in 1993, eventually ended up as a Murdoch asset. From next month, it will no longer exist at all.
Would that organ still exist if it were still independent?
The sacking of media employees across the nation without warning should be recognised as a sign of the failure of government policy, diminishing media diversity and the dumbing down of the population.
It’s ruthless behaviour that the Liberal and National government encouraged through loosening cross-media ownership laws. It is devoid of empathy, and does not serve the common good.
But hopefully that’s for the short term – the hundreds of Australian regional towns that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has just abandoned will hopefully, in time, find their own voice.
It’s a rare opportunity for ambitious individuals in those communities to create their own independent print media.
A cornerstone of media is sharing and connecting by hyper local community stories. From there, advertisers can trust that their product and service is well read by all.
Independent media also holds the powerful to account.
Arguably, News Corp is unable to do that effectively because of its strong links to governments and other big businesses.
Unlike Murdoch’s mastheads, The Echo’s website is free to visit, and free of compromise and corporate interference.
We have been independently owned since 1986.
With the print vacuum created by Murdoch the Merciless, The Echo is now planning to expand its print news coverage to include more Lennox and Ballina stories.
Ballina businesses are encouraged to support us – there will always be value in print, especially from an independent voice that has been part of the Northern Rivers for more than 30 years.
This is the time for an independent media renaissance, and a renewed focus on reporting on, and analysing, the governing and corporate classes.