By Anton La Macchia
Five local newspapers are set to close their doors after the Community Newspaper Group announced it was no longer sustainable to keep publishing.
The Midland Kalamunda Reporter, Comment News, Hills Avon Valley Gazette and The Advocate in the Perth Hills will send out their final deliveries in the first week of September.
The North Coast Times, with a print readership of 32,000, will also shut down. It is expected the Wanneroo Weekender will continue to service the region.
Despite Community News being good grounding for young journalists, the cuts will undeniably limit pathways into the industry.
Independent newspapers The Midland Echo and the Examiner Newspaper Group still stand as the sole newspapers covering the hills, but will no longer be subjected to strong competition.
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance WA regional director Tiffany Venning said the company had called for ‘voluntary redundancies’, but it was hoped at least some of the reporters could be reabsorbed into other mastheads around Perth.
“It’s already tough enough out there at the moment”, she said.
“Many communities will be impacted”,
“There’s already a lot of economic pressure in the media industry and that’s why we’re unfortunately in this situation at the moment.”
“The Hills papers had been running at a loss, being propped up by the others. They were the least viable.”
She warned other local paper closures could happen around the state as publishers fought to stay viable in the already competitive industry.
She said it was also a loss in terms of opportunities for graduate journalists.