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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Dark Days ahead indeed

When the Bay Post, along with many of the regional mastheads own by Australian Community Media foretold Dark Days ahead for communities across NSW little did they realise that they may well have been foreshadowing their own demise.

April 6, 2023 Olivia Ireland, a breaking news reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and Zoe Samios, a media and telecommunications reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this week report in The AGE: "Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz’s newspaper business is preparing to sell or shut down more than 13 mastheads as the company combats rising print costs and a slump in the advertising market". In the article Catalano told The Age “Regrettably some smaller publications were at best break even before we bought the business, and the reality of an 80 per cent increase in paper costs and a significant drop in government spend made them completely unsustainable in print form.” ACM have already been bailed out by the previous federal government to the tune of $10.3m due to their difficulties during Covid. The next hand out came after they cried poor over the cost of news print soaring. This resulted in a $15 million lifeline from the Federal Government in October 2022 for over 200 regional and local independent newspaper publishers across the country, including First Nations and multicultural publishers, under the Regional and Local Newspaper Publishers Program. Hypocritically they then splashed their Dark Days claim across their regional masthead front pages as if paper grew on trees. It now appears that the game is up for more federal or state handouts with the Albanese government offering $1.5 million micro-news publishers, through the LINA industry group, that represents digital and hyper-local community websites. The Local and Independent News Association (LINA) hosted Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland in Sydney on March 31st, 2023, at its first major event since launching in 2021. In July 2022 the Bay Post offered that its average issue readership in print was 5096. That readership was calculated at 3 readers per copy. This suggests that the Bay Post prints 1698 copies every Wednesday with each, and all of us, handing our paper to a minimum of three others. At $2.00 per paper that comprises only 16 pages (7 of which are advertisements) it is understandable that the older ACM audience prefer to wait until Thursday to pick up their free copy of the Eurobodalla Independent that ACM claims to have an issue readership of 9600 based on its 3 readers per copy rationale. Within its 24 pages of valuable paper that has increased at 80% you will find 7 pages of advertisements along with a double page TV guide and a full page jumbo cross word. With a recipe and a car review it is little surprise that the 24 page freebie is popular, especially given that it is padded out with basically the same news as the edition published the day before. The community now expects news that breaks today to be available today, and not having to wait until next Wednesday to learn what happened last Thursday. It is little wonder they look to social media for timely news in the first instance. Fortunately our South East community benefits from a pro-active local ABC, a quality local commercial station in 2EC providing timely news coverage, and two hyperlocal news outlets being the Moruya Mail and The Beagle. With ACM continuing to whittle down its resources and its product, that is already diluted by cloned articles, then it is inevitable that Dark Days are ahead... for them.

De je vu ?? - Apr 6, 2017

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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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