The end of an era but the news won't stop.
The end of an era but the news won't stop. Chris Ison

Why death of print won't be the end of your stories

THE news of the loss of so many daily and community print titles was like being hit by a freight train yesterday.

We all knew it was coming for sometime, but we certainly didn't think it would be so soon.

To see the end of major regional printed editions - and the many smaller ones - is heartbreaking for those of us who have grown up with ink in our veins.

I started as a cadet reporter at the Sunshine Coast Daily in 1986. Since that time, I've seen enormous industry change.

In 2007, seeing the move towards online, I spearheaded Project Sandbox to carve out a new digital future for our regional papers, starting with the Daily.

Our success has been recognised not only nationally but internationally. We have been the fastest growing digital subscription business in News Corp.

Today, I can't help thinking we might have been too successful.

But the reality is that the march to online has been relentless, as retailers and other bricks and mortar businesses will attest.

Giants like Google and Facebook, which pay hardly any tax and employ very few people in this country, have used our content for years and sold advertising around it.

Print advertising revenues have declined, accelerated by the current coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday, that reality hit home for some very good people in this business.

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Reporters, photographers, editors, advertising staff, delivery drivers, newsagents, printers, administration staff, the list goes on and on.

But in the midst of all of this, many jobs remain.

The news will continue to be produced by great people who are passionate about their communities.

And we, like any other business, will rely on the support of the communities we serve to survive.

Today, I know there are many people angry about the loss of the printed product.

But as I talked to a veteran journalist and editor last night, he reminded me of one thing.

The news - the stories of people, issues that matter, and our communities - is what really matters - not the delivery platform.

As someone who has worked in digital for many years, I remain excited about the opportunities it provides to tell stories in ways that print can't - through video, audio, interactives, longer reads, rolling coverage and the like.

Your stories will continue to be told. We just ask that you support us in these difficult times by considering a subscription.

After all, we are talking about the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

It's a small price to pay to ensure good people in our industry are able to do what they do best - fight for their communities, keep the bastards honest and go into bat for those who would otherwise be without a voice.

Mark Furler is group digital editor for News Regional Media, overseeing about 50 websites. He's been a journalist based on the Sunshine Coast for more than 30 years. He was formerly editor in chief of the Sunshine Coast Daily and involved in three PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards.

News Corp Australia


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