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‘Like a third world nation’: News Corp blasted for abandoning regional readers

Media giant News Corp has opted to abandon a large number of its readers in regional Queensland, pulling the pin on distribution of its printed newspaper titles to several country areas from September after telling newsagents it was too costly to continue.

Mar 29, 2021, updated Mar 29, 2021

The company has begun telling some regional newsagents that it will cease distribution of a range of newspapers, including The Courier-Mail and The Australian, after 26 September.

News Corp has reportedly cited the “very high cost” of sending newspapers to regional areas as a reason for the move.

The ABC reports that distribution will cease to towns further west than Charters Towers in the north, Emerald in central Queensland and in some parts of the state’s south-west.

It follows News Corp’s decision last year to stop publication of most of its regional newspapers, forcing readers to buy an online subscription if they wanted local news.

Longreach Mayor Tony Rayner blasted the decision, saying it was akin to treating regional Queensland like a third world country.

“I am extremely disappointed at the lack of respect shown towards regional Queensland,” he said.

“We as readers have been loyal to that company and supported them for many years only for them to make this decision to boost their profits.”

He said a large percentage of people in regional Queensland still relied on newspapers for information.

“I will be conveying our disappointment to the highest level” he said.

Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade said her city of 20,000 residents had recently lost the printed version of their local newspaper and the News Corp decision would be another blow.

“It is really disappointing decision to be honest,” she said.

She said the council would meet later this week to discuss how it would respond to the company’s decision.

In a statement to the ABC, News Corp said it was “following our audience — and our advertisers — to where they consume news and information, allowing our news coverage to be more immediate and focused on our communities”.

“While our changes in western Queensland represent about 1 per cent of state newspaper sales, the true value of a newspaper is in the news, not the paper it’s printed on.”

 

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