Australia’s Newscorp today announced that over 100 of News Corp’s regional and community titles will no longer produce print editions and instead move to digital-only formats, whilst an additional 14 titles will cease to exist. This is due to an overall consumer shift from print to online.

While COVID-19 invigorated consumption of media stalwarts as Australian’s gravitated towards well-known, established, ‘reliable’ news source, the downturn in print advertising spending accelerated Paper’s decline.

City mastheads will be less ‘big picture’ with a narrower state and regional focus.

The majority of News Corps’ journalists who cover regional and community news and information, will live and work out of regional Queensland.

This should ring alarm bells for believers in journalistic integrity given Queensland’s Channel Nine was behind the appallingly racist ‘investigative report’ on Palm Island, which aired on May 22nd, 2020.

(Link to related article on Nine News' coverage of Palm Island 'Rioters $30M Pay Day.')

Downsides of the downsize:

  • Local papers play a crucial role keeping local government honest and accountable.

  • Accessibility issues – the elderly, those in lower socio-economic brackets, those without internet will be left news-less.

  • Confirmation bias will dominate – it’s easier to sell papers when you are telling people what they want to hear.

  • Fewer media sources will lead to the emergence of a ‘dominant’, often convenient truth…

Class PR Comment: Public Beware

Australians, more than ever, need to read with their eyes open, question the context and veracity of journalists’ claims. ‘Investigative journalism’ that speaks to its constituent’s core prejudices can have dangerous consequences.

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