Opinion: Rural paper shutdowns must not force community news into extinction

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The coronavirus has taken a hefty toll on Australians. Thousands of businesses forced to close; many of those in rural areas of Australia, who already suffered from one of the worst droughts and bushfire seasons in Australian history.

Community newspapers have been the source of life for these rural areas. The Ballina Advocate, Byron Shire NewsLismore Northern Star and Tweed Daily News, all keeping their local community members informed and connected.

All of the papers listed, are now being forced to close as of June 29, leaving hundreds of journalists without jobs.

News Corp announced it is shutting almost all of its regional and community newspapers from June 29. Photo: Echonetdaily

The recently announced closures are the third wave of community newspaper shutdowns. News Corp Australia announced in April it will stop printing 60 of its community newspapers nation wide, including Brisbane News, the Central Coast Express Advocate, the Manly Daily and the Blacktown Advocate.

Also in April, Australian Community Media, which publishes 170 community titles, announced it’s suspension of dozens of their non-daily newspapers.

“It is terribly sad to lose the Advocate. It has been an important glue for the Ballina community,” said Ballina Shire Councillor Keith Williams this morning, speaking to Echonetdaily.

This sad loss was echoed by Ballina Shire Councillor Jeff Johnson who says that “The Advocate was full of local news stories and is how lots of people in Ballina source their local news.”

Local newspapers keep communities together

In almost every community, the newspaper is the first recorder of news.

“To say you don’t need newspapers because you’ve got the internet is like saying you don’t need farmers because you’ve got a grocery store,” Nevada Press head publisher Peter Wagner shares.

“The closure of so many mastheads represents an immense blow to local communities and, coming off the back of hundreds of previous regional closures during this period, it underlines the seriousness of the crisis facing regional and local journalism,” MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said.

Just as all papers are providing a needed public service to their own communities, The Greek Herald has been serving their close-knit Greek Australian community.

Read More: New Greek Herald home delivery: All you need to know!

The Greek Herald has been operating for 94 years and in that time, has been dedicated to delivering news to the Greek community.

“We have developed this newspaper with our community, its organisations, associations but also with every Greek individually,” Greek Herald publisher Dimitra Skalkos said at their official relaunch party.

“The Greek Herald has been there throughout history, and is itself a part of history.”

The Greek Herald continues to print six days/week, offers digital subscriptions to our members, as well as making articles accessible for free on our website and social media platforms.

We have adapted to the changes necessary to continue to serve the loyal Greek community in Australia. We are not here just for the community, but we are here because of the community.

As long as the Greek community exists in Australia, The Greek Herald will be by its side.

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