‘Kick in the guts’: Mayor’s sadness at Times print shutdown
COMMUNITIES of the southwest were caught off guard when they learned three of their local newspapers were stopping print, and a large number of staff were being made redundant.
Yesterday, News Corp Australia announced significant changes to its regional and community newspapers, including the axing of print editions for Charleville's Western Times and The Western Star in Roma, and the shuttering of St George's Balonne Beacon.
Six mayors from around the region were all in one room for a South West RED meeting when the news broke about their respective local newspapers; Murweh Shire mayor Shaun Radnedge said News Corp's restructure and redundancies for local reporters is a huge blow for the whole southwest region.
"It is absolutely a kick in the guts for our region and I am full of praise for the hardworking journos whom seek the news and help connect so many people.
"Our Western Times is moving to digital only and I urge people to take up subscriptions so we keep a digital version. We need to hold onto that.
"I am not qualified to comment on the corporate business side of the Newscorp decision but I am qualified to say the press, and in particular the free press, and real journalism is a valued service to our regional communities."
Across Australia, more than 100 regional titles are affected by the massive changes.
There have been significant redundancies across both advertising and editorial sides of each masthead impacted.
Cr Radnedge said the loss of journalists serving the west marks a sad day for every community with a News Corp newspaper, and thanked the team behind the Times, Beacon and Star for their dedication.
"Thank you valued journos for adding to our regional fabric," he said.
"Our local journos have names and are people and our community know them. They work so very hard in tough situations to provide our communities with the truth and tell stories we need to know; they are historians, too, capturing special moments in our journey.
"It is an absolute kick in the guts for our journos and for our communities."