Local Perth newspapers under threat

Labor has committed $15 million to help newspaper publishers with the rising cost of newsprint, but that funding is not yet available as details on eligibility are being finalized.

MEAA regional director Tiffany Venning said rising printing costs could be the last straw for smaller, independent publishers.

“For any community to have a news outlet that’s not owned by world leader Rupert Murdoch, or Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media is such a privilege – it’s as rare as chicken teeth.”

Andrew Smith, owner of the Fremantle Herald

“They have weathered the digital disruption, adapted their business as needed, and become innovators in reaching their communities, but the fear is that they simply won’t be able to absorb those costs the way a large publisher would. “, she said.

“Over the past 10 years, we have seen a decline in the number of publishers serving their local communities, as well as the number of journalists employed and engaged within those communities.

“The pandemic has accelerated this decline, and nationally more than 100 community and regional mastheads have stopped printing.

“It’s the community that’s ultimately missing, because important stories won’t be told.”

In the southern suburbs, The Fremantle Herald sought donations from readers to continue printing.

Owner Andrew Smith said in an open letter to readers that the donations were part of a plan to provide the Fremantle, Melville and Cockburn Heralds with a separate source of income so they could continue their journalism.

“Truly, we are done with the constant threat to the jobs of our wonderful staff every time the economy turns sour,” he said.

“For any community to have a news outlet that’s not owned by world leader Rupert Murdoch or Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media is such a privilege – it’s as rare as hen’s teeth,” he said. he declared.

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“Many local businesses have been destroyed by the pandemic just like us. Many died. Others have not yet recovered. They will, one day.

“In the meantime, we would like your help in empowering us to seek out the best in local journalism, and also to help promote local businesses so that all of our wonderful readers can go and help them get back on their feet.”

Bret Christian, founder of the western suburbs Post logssay it Job had a solid advertising base, but the rising cost of newsprint meant that corners had to be cut.

“We think everything will be fine, if we survived COVID we can survive anything,” he said.

But he said any loss of independent newspapers was a tragedy for communities.

“They are his heartbeat,” he said.

“Independent newspapers are all that separates Perth from a one-newspaper city.”

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