News Corp resumes printing three of Sydney’s community newspapers

News Corp will resume printing three of Sydney’s community newspapers – The Wentworth Courier, The Mosman Daily, and North Shore Times – this week.

The media company suspended the print editions of 60 community titles in April, and, the following month, axed more than 100 print papers and shuttered 14 mastheads completely as advertisers retreat to bunker down during COVID-19.

However, News Corp said the response from both advertisers and readers has made reinstating the print versions of the three papers viable. The Wentworth Courier is back from Wednesday, and The Mosman Daily and North Shore Times from Thursday.

The Wentworth Courier is one of three titles that will be back in print

The publisher’s general manager of real estate, Clare Starling, said that the papers have been online-only for a few months, but offer an engaged and affluent audience to advertisers.

“They’ve got a very strong brand, they’ve got high readership and engagement. And it’s an audience our advertisers like,” she said.

The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales has meant businesses in the real estate, retail and hospitality sectors can “get back to work”.

“It is important that we return our printed editions to support these businesses and communities in their reconnection,” Starling said.

“People are still buying and selling. This market’s very, very vibrant, they’re still out doing things.”

The newspapers’ editor, Tim McIntyre, added that the real estate markets on Sydney’s north shore and eastern suburbs have “so far … been extremely resilient”.

“There was probably a brief moment where some price expectations for house sales came down slightly,” he said. “But since then, they’re back and they’re back with a boom.

“COVID is a part of society now; we’ve got to keep moving on and the demand is there to buy and sell property, and to read about beautiful homes in these areas and to show pride in your local areas as well.”

It’s been a big month for News Corp, hiring former WPP AUNZ CEO Mike Connaghan to lead its commercial content division, and a number of staff for its newswire service, which launched after it pulled funding from the since-saved AAP. The business promoted chief operating officer Damian Eales, who will be moving to New York, to the newly-created role of global head of transformation.

The company also announced the closure of its Murrarie print centre following the end of the 100+ print newspapers. Regional media rival Australian Community Media has also said it needs to close four print sites. But last week, it announced a plan to launch 50 new digital-only titles targeted at regional populations, with the first 15, staffed by one reporter each, to start publishing in September.


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