COVID-19 ENDS COMMUNITY PUBLICATIONS, SKYROCKETS NEWS PORTALS

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AFTER 114 years, News Corp Australia will suspend publishing its New South Wales print edition the Manly Daily and 59 other community publications due to financial strain, made worse with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The closure of the Manly Daily in print since 1906 together with other publication will see job losses to follow suit despite the publications being able to serve six million people monthly.

This came about following the downturn of real estate and entertainment industries described to be the print editions’ revenue source.

 “The suspension of print editions has been forced on us by the rapid decline in advertising revenues following the restrictions placed on real estate auctions and home inspections, the forced closure of event venues and dine-in restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus emergency,” News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller was quoted in The Guardian.

The publications which will cease printing from April 9 include the Moreland Leader, the Northcote Leader, the Preston Leader and the Stonnington Leader in Melbourne; the Blacktown Advocate, the Inner West Courier and the Wentworth Courier in Sydney.

The community and regional newspapers have been a training ground for journalists for generations.

The titles would continue to publish digitally but whether the print editions would resume after the crisis remains to be seen.

For now, community readers Down Under can access a free digital subscription to titles such as the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph, the Courier-Mail and the Advertiser.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge in news audience Down Under and globally as well.

Closer home, figures made available by the Malaysian Digital Association showed Malay Mail readers expanded by 250 percent in March during the time authorities initiated measures to tackle the pandemic.

This was the time Malaysians remained indoor spending time online, reading news, shopping and even making meal purchases. While figures showed the news portal to have performed the best among English news sites, other news sites also saw significant increase in readers.

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