Antony Catalano, the Executive Chairman of Australian Community Media (ACM) that includes the Bay Post, Moruya Examiner and Narooma News has today issued a message to ACM audiences and advertisers
"The coronavirus pandemic has become the greatest crisis the world has experienced in generations.
"No family, community, state, country, or company, has been able to escape some effect.
For ACM, the shutting down of large parts of the Australian economy has had a serious impact on every part of our business.
"In recent weeks we have tried to battle through. Our staff have been extraordinary. They have continued to display professionalism and pride in the face of the crisis, including swiftly switching to working from home to safeguard the health of their colleagues, families and communities.
"Unfortunately, ACM can no longer continue business as usual. We have no choice but to act now.
"Earlier this week I advised employees that the printing operations at some of our press sites and the production of a number of our non-daily publications would be suspended for three months.
"Our 14 daily newspapers and our leading agricultural journals in each state are not affected, but some of our smaller non-daily titles will not be published from next week and will offer limited news coverage on their websites. The editors of these mastheads will update their audiences in coming days.
"Staff associated with the affected print sites and publications will be stood down.
This decision is going to be upsetting for a lot of people. It is an extremely difficult time for many of our staff. Our first thoughts are always for their safety and well-being.
The decision to temporarily stop publishing some newspapers has not been taken lightly. We know that our communities have a close relationship with their local paper.
"But decisive action to change our operations is now necessary to ensure ACM makes it through this crisis, so that we can continue to be a vibrant part of our shared future in the towns, cities and regions we serve.
"As Australia’s largest independent media company, ACM remains committed to our audiences and advertisers.
"Before the COVID-19 emergency, ACM had positioned itself as a significant player in the media landscape by investing in strategic partnerships and revenue opportunities such as realestateview.com.au, Australia’s 3rd largest real estate portal, and other innovative property ventures, which, along with our stake in Prime Media Group, were helping to strengthen us for the future.
"I am determined that we will come out the other side of the coronavirus crisis to resume our focus on these ventures and to renew our efforts to grow a business that sustains ACM’s trusted voice all over Australia.
"As we assist our employees through these difficult changes, I would like to acknowledge their dedication to their readers, customers and communities as true professionals.
I’d also like to thank you, our loyal audiences and advertisers, for your continued support and understanding." Mr Catalano said.
Above: Antony Catalano - Photo via Twitter