Regional newspapers in South Australia and Queensland are changing hands after Australian Community Media sold 14 titles to Star News Group.
- ACM has sold 14 of its regional newspapers to Star News Group
- Star News Group says it may hire more journalists and increase cover prices
- ACM says it will now focus on its “core titles”
The sale included SA titles the Border Chronicle, Naracoorte Herald, Port Lincoln Times, The Islander, The Murray Valley Standard, The Recorder, The Victor Harbour Times, The Transcontinental, Whyalla News and digital only titles the Coastal Leader and The Flinders Times.
The Queensland titles included the Beaudesert Times, Goondiwindi Argus and digital only Mount Isa title North West Star.
Star News Group managing director Paul Thomas said he wanted to see the papers expand.
“We really want to breathe new life into those historic titles, provide a really great product in local communities and get more people buying the paper,” he said.
“It’s very early days but now we’ll be offering jobs to all of the staff that are currently working for ACM.
He said the company needed more staff.
“Our goal is to grow content in each of the markets. We will put a very strong local focus on that content, which we do in other markets,” he said.
Mr Thomas said there would likely be an increase in the cover price for those newspapers.
In a statement, ACM managing director Tony Kendall said the sale meant the company could focus on its “core titles”.
“Our focus has always been on keeping our business sustainable so if we’re approached about titles outside of our key markets we would of course look at what’s best for those mastheads, their communities and how any potential transaction might help support and strengthen ACM in its key markets,” he said.
Mr Thomas said local newspapers provided an invaluable service to their communities which couldn’t be copied by social media.
“A local newspaper will ultimately provide the opportunity for everybody to have a say,” he said.
“There should always be balance in the story, you won’t get that typically in social media.
“It’s usually one person’s rant or one person’s comment, as opposed to a well-balanced story that gives everybody a say.”
ACM staff at the sold mastheads are being consulted about the change, with the sale expected to be finalised in February.
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Source : ABC News (AU)