Local journalism dealt a blow in newspaper closures

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto is gutted by today’s announcement that the print edition of the Herbert River Express will be shutting down.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto fears for the future of regional journalism following News Corp Australia’s decision to down the print editions of several regional newspapers, including the Herbert River Express.

Mr Dametto said he was gutted for the thousands of employees at newspapers across the country who were told the heartbreaking news this morning.

“Today is a dark day for regional journalism and the many communities who rely on their local newspaper to tell their stories,” he said.

“This is an incredibly disappointing decision at a time when our regional economy is suffering. My thoughts are with the thousands of journalists and support staff whose jobs are in jeopardy due to today’s announcement.”

Mr Dametto said the Herbert River District had a large elderly population who did not use computers and relied on their local paper to stay up-to-date with local issues.

“While I understand local news for our area will continue digitally, this will be difficult for people to accept. I have a real fear that the Herbert River Express is about to lose its identity and with that goes a big chunk of what makes up the Herbert River District” he said.

“Our local newspaper is a big part of the fabric of our community. There will be many today upset by this decision.”

Mr Dametto said he feared for the future of regional journalism with the closure of several newspapers in the North.

“I am concerned about what this means for our aspiring journalists still in school. Jobs will be few and far between online and they’ll be forced to move to metropolitan areas if they want a future,” Mr Dametto said.

“Well resourced and funded journalism is not only vital to our democracy. It’s vital to our local towns. We need journalists to be able to tell our stories – the good and the bad. They hold our leaders to account and shine a light on issues that may otherwise have been forgotten.

“For those who still have their jobs, the pressure on them will be even greater to produce more and with less resources, and there will be issues that go unreported.

“It is a sad day for regional journalism, but Katter’s Australian Party will continue to work with all stakeholders in trying to find a workable solution so our communities can still have a voice.”

Nick Dametto MP