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Thursday, May 28, 2020, 13:09
News Corp Australia shuts over 100 print titles in digital shift
By Xinhua
Thursday, May 28, 2020, 13:09 By Xinhua

A man speaks on a phone at the entrance to the News Corp headquarters in Sydney, on May 28, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)

SYDNEY News Corp Australia has announced the closure of more than 100 regional and community print titles as part of a major restructure aimed at cutting costs and moving to digital publishing.

The media giant said in a statement on Thursday the bulk of its regional and community papers will go digital only from June 29.

"COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing," said News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller. "Despite the audiences of News Corp's digital mastheads growing more than 60 percent."

Online videos, digital reading big business amid self-isolation. Despite the audiences of News Corp's digital mastheads growing more than 60 percent

Michael Miller, Executive Chairman, News Corp Australia  

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He also noted print advertising spending which contributes the majority of the company's revenues accelerated its decline.

In order to meet these changing trends, Miller said the company would employ more digital only journalists and make investments in digital advertising and marketing solutions.

But at the same time, the portfolio change will "regretfully" lead to job losses. The number of journalists covering regional and community news will drop significantly from between 1,200 and 1,300 to around 375.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said it was a huge loss for communities in regional and suburban Australia.

"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," MEAA Chief Executive Paul Murphy said.

"We are determined to see proper consultation and fair treatment for any affected staff."

The COVID-19 pandemic had already forced News Corp to suspend printing of some of its newspapers in April.

READ MORE: Online videos, digital reading big business amid self-isolation

The company has launched 16 new digital only local mastheads and is planning to expand the number to 92.

According to the statement, major mastheads including The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Advertiser, will now become more state focused with increased regional contents.

The Hobart Mercury and NT News are among a very small number of regional papers that will continue to publish both in print and digitally.

Some small print newspapers will cease publication, but the local journalism coverage of the area will continue, feeding into the digital masthead.

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