Welcome to this week’s editorial, The news this week of the buy out of ACM and the announcement of the new owner of the Bay Post, Moruya Examiner and Narooma News along with all the other regional mastheads once owned by Fairfax has sent ripples through the media world. At a local level what does it mean to us in the Eurobodalla? The local papers have played a vital role in bringing the community together, a single place in which to celebrate a community, to announce all the things that need it and to be there providing the warp and weft of what holds us all together from jumble sales to politics. Along with all the public announcements the newspapers have also provided commentary on our day to day lives and stood as watchdogs reporting on the key things that define who we are from political decisions that affect our daily lives to the arts, music and food that makes our local culture unique. They once were the go to for any news, however, in recent years with the upset of the digital age local papers are quickly being usurped by alternate news sources such as the Beagle, About Regional, Latte Life and the Kiama Bugle that are independently owned and are social media savvy providing today’s news today. Long gone are the days of waiting patiently until next Wednesday to read about something that may have happened on Friday. With social media breaking news is about NOW and people want to know NOW. So it will be interesting to see what happens with the model they adopt for the Bay Post / Moruya Examiner and Narooma News. There is already speculation that in order to minimise costs they might consolidate their offices into a central office that shares content across the region. Those in Narooma are already coming to learn that much of their news in their weekly Narooma News newspaper is out of the Bay Post including editorials. The once very local Narooma News, out once a week, has become much thinner and speaking with Naroomaites really misses having a locally based editor. The recent article on Green’s candidate Pat McGinlay was written in Yass and then shared across the other papers. Such articles are not uncommon as news story trickle in from the north in the Shoalhaven as well. In all the effect dilutes local news. The Bay Post now sits behind a digital paywall and whilst this might be the dawning of a new era for them what is evident is that they are often beaten to their stories by social media. Revenues are hard to find and it will be interesting to see how Mr Catalano and his backers find a financial return from our local papers. Local advertising rates are already inaccessible to most small businesses so it is inevitable that the ads we see will be for corporations which will further make clones of our local papers as they fuse into one—possibly with a single masthead to cover the shire and out each Wednesday. Let’s see what happens. Until next
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