Thursday, May 28, 2020

Print decline not just happening in the U.S.; Australian news conglomerate moves 100+ local papers online-only

The decline in print media isn't just an American phenomenon, as demonstrated by this week's news.

News Corp Australia, one of the nation's largest media conglomerates, "has confirmed that more than 100 local and regional newspapers will become digital only or disappear entirely, and there will be a significant number of job losses," Amanda Meade reports for The Guardian. "A total of 112 of Rupert Murdoch’s print newspapers will stop the presses, including 36 which will close altogether and 76 which will remain as online mastheads. News Corp will not specify how many staff each title will have, if any, or how much local reporting will continue."

That brings "to 92 the number of online titles published by the company after News Corp launched 16 new online titles in recent years," Meade reports. The company suspended 60 papers in April because of the coronavirus, with no promise that they would return.

Paul Murphy, the chief executive of Australian trade union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, told Meade: "The closure of so many mastheads represents an immense blow to local communities and, coming off the back of hundreds of previous regional closures during this period, it underlines the seriousness of the crisis facing regional and local journalism." Australia is one of the few countries where rural journalism is a recognized specialty.

Though a review showed that consumers were reading and subscribing to news online, and that advertisers were transitioning to online-only ads, the move will hurt the sustainability of the news media, Murphy said. That's because print advertising makes up the majority of News Corp's revenue. 

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