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Vale: Fairfax Media


As of December 7th Fairfax is no more after 177 years. Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment were given court approval to merge last month and the shareholders all agreed. As of Monday when the new media giant Nine begins operating the Fairfax empire, as it was, will become history. It is unknown what now lies ahead for our local newspapers, The Bay Post, the Moruya Examiner and the Narooma News however on Monday Nine Entertainment Co announced more than 90 employees were to be made redundant as it "pursues efficiencies" following its $3 billion merger with Fairfax Media. An email from CEO to staff on Monday morning said "most of the work needed" for redundancies and "synergies" would be completed by the end of the week, except for the IT divisions. It is reported that there will be 144 roles made redundant in total affecting 92 employees with some existing vacancies not being filled. Over the last two years there have been noticeable changes to our own local papers with the three becoming much of a clone of each other sharing articles, editorials, sports reports and letters to the editor along with standardised corporate advertising. While it is not known how many Bay Post readers have taken up a subscription to access the news on-line behind a pay wall it is more than noticeable that there has been a marked decrease in the news items offered on their Facebook page. Since the Bay Post took over Moruya's Southern Star/Moruya Examiner that paper has seen the loss of much local Moruya content relegating it mostly as a clone of the Bay Post. With the moving on of the Narooma News editor, Stan Gorton who edited his local paper with a passion of place and a pride in the spirit that was uniquely Narooma the paper is now edited from outside of the Shire overseen by an editor-in-chief who controls all three Eurobodalla publications. While the Narooma News still remains free to read on-line it has been widely noticed that volume of local stories has dropped off considerably and that it too rarely puts anything into its social media feed. There are disturbing suggestions coming from industry observers that the low hanging, underperforming "fruit" of the new NINE empire will be sold off. This underperforming "fruit" goes by the name of rural and regional newspapers. Fairfax of old have openly admitted that they have financially supported regional newspapers via the profits of their metropolitan mastheads however NINE shareholders might not be so committed when it comes at the potential loss of dividends. One option for our own three local newspapers might be to consolidate into a single office, maintaining a singular staff who report on the Eurobodalla area as a whole via a single weekly publication. The cost of printing and associated transport costs are already high and eating into ever reducing profits. With the advent of technology that enables news to be "at hand" and available 24/7 the old fashioned notion of printing newspapers that have news that is days, if not weeks old just doesn't cut it with savvy readers wanting news as it happens. The primary concern for the community is the potential loss of its voice. Communities rely on local news. It conveys the warp and weft of a community celebrating and communicating. It reports, it explores and it documents and without newspapers we are left the poorer. So it is with considerable interest that we now watch what will happen to our local papers that were once proud mastheads under the historic Fairfax flagship.


#latest #Community #Weekly #Editorial #Opinion #LeiParker

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