Local news journalism hit hard in News Corp closures

Dozens of jobs will be lost and three community newspapers will stop printing in Far North Queensland after News Corp, publisher of The Cairns Post, announced mass cuts to its regional titles.

The Atherton Tablelander, Innisfail Advocate and Post Douglas & Mossman Gazette will cease printing at the end of June with news content from those areas to be incorporated into the pages of The Cairns Post.

The cuts were part of a nationwide closure of more than 100 of News Corp’s regional and community titles, with 14 titles being closed permanently and others moving to digital-only formats.

The company's announcement this morning will result in the loss of more than 500 jobs.

Tropic Now editor Gavin King, a former chief-of-staff and Editor-at-Large at The Cairns Post who worked for News Corp for nearly a decade, said it was a sad day for local journalism and for staff impacted by the company's decision.

"Globally, the news media industry has struggled for years as advertising spending shifted to Google and Facebook and yet local news of the type produced by the Gazette and Tablelander has become more important than ever before," Mr King said.

"I can't see how The Cairns Post will be able to fill that hyper-local news gap given the unfortunate staff cuts that have taken place there over recent years coupled with the very low take-up of paywall subscriptions for the Post's online news site.

"It will be interesting to see if any new players emerge into the market to fill the gap left in the regions by today's announcement."

News Corp’s Australian executive chairman Michael Miller thanked staff who were made redundant.

“They have provided News with invaluable years of service," he said. "Their passionate commitment to the communities in which they live and work and their role in ensuring these have been informed and served by trusted local media has been substantial."