The Moruya Examiner remains one of the many ACM mastheads that are still not being printed

The Moruya Examiner remains one of the many ACM mastheads that are still not being printed by media company ACM. The Beagle has now learned that ACM, the publisher of the Moruya Examiner, Bay Post and Narooma News, says it is proposing to close four of its nine press sites that includes Canberra, where the Moruya Examiner was printed. Australian Community Media was expected last week to return dozens of titles to print after many including the Moruya Examiner and The Independent were suspended as advertising collapsed because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Since the lock down both the Bay Post and Narooma News have closed their shop fronts with staff working from home.

In a statement published today across ACM platforms it is reported that ACM's Anthony Catalano said "economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic" had affected "not only our own business but many other publishers who utilised ACM's nine print facilities around the country".

"With the suspension of these external printing clients along with our own product stand-downs, ACM no longer has the volume of printing to warrant the number of print centres in its stable," the statement said.

"Consequently, today we announce that following a review of our operations we have entered into a consultation period with our print site employees at four of our print sites.

"The review is designed to ensure that our printing capacity meets the current needs of the business and is the prudent decision to ensure ACM's ongoing success and its long-term objective of building on its position as Australia's largest regional media publisher." In April 2020 The RIOTACT reported that Australian Community Media (ACM) had suspended printing operations, stood down staff and closed office doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic saying "Subscribers to the likes of the Moruya Examiner, the Braidwood Times, the Cootamundra Herald, the Eden Magnet and others have been told that print editions are halted until the end of June". These suspensions were at the same time independent media outlets including Region Media, About Regional, The Beagle and the Braidwood Bugle were responding to the challenge and have provided continued unabated news coverage.

The "end of June" has been and gone and the Moruya Examiner has not returned as promised, nor has there been any statement by the Bay Post in regards to the status of the once regal masthead that has served the Moruya and Eurobodalla region for 150 years.

The Moruya Examiner paper is particularly important as Moruya has been the administrative and service centre of the Eurobodalla region from Moruya’s early days in the 1850s providing a written record the growth of the region and of the emerging industries.

The Moruya Examiner once provided invaluable insights into local attitudes to state, national and international events and provided incredibly rich and deep knowledge of the social history of the growing rural communities in the Eurobodalla region. Since it was cloned with the Bay Post under a common masthead the role the once vital newspaper played was somewhat diminished There may still be hope for the Moruya Examiner if ACM are recipients of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund – 2020 Round open to regional and metropolitan publishers and content service providers producing public interest journalism.