Nine suspends some print sections, and shakes up newspaper homepages during COVID-19 crisis

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Nine has pivoted its publishing arm. The changes include the suspension of some print sections and the optimisation of newspapers’ webpages to provide consumers with COVID-19 updates.

Non-weekly magazines have been suspended and some lift outs have ceased. The staff impacted by the changes will be redeployed as appropriate, said a Nine spokesperson.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s homepage has been optimised for COVID-19 coverage

“Like most businesses, Nine is examining its business in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact upon the advertising market and is taking a number of steps including the suspension of certain print sections,” said the spokesperson.

“These temporary measures will be continually reviewed and the sections will be reinstated as conditions improve. Impacted staff will be redeployed as appropriate.”

Boss, Sophisticated Traveller, Luxury, Good Food Magazine and Executive Style have all been suspended, although their content will appear elsewhere within Nine’s titles, and the Traveller lift out, Domain magazine and The Shortlist/EG guides have all been suspended.

Nine has also cut back on its recruitment, only continuing with critical roles. Staff have also been asked to use excess leave. Nine is facing the same issue as many others in the business. While news readership is growing as consumers are hungry for COVID-19 updates, advertising dollars are not matching the demand and industries in trouble – including the travel industry – have been forced to pull spend.

Titles such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have also seen their homepages rejigged by Nine Publishing’s product and technology teams who have increased the functionality of the pages.

The Herald and Age homepages now provide more flexibility for the newsroom to highlight key updates from live coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with quick links to explainers that help readers navigate this uncertain time.

More is set to come, with the introduction of a data widget on the horizon which will showcase the important numbers across the outbreak, including confirmed cases by state.

Executive editor James Chessell said the publications had a responsibility to provide consumers with clear and accurate information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While COVID-19 has disrupted life and business as we know it, our newsrooms remain committed to reporting the facts while calmly explaining what the spread of the virus means for our health, the economy, schools, universities, the sporting and cultural realms as well as our homes and family,” said Chessell.

“We are always looking for ways to better serve our subscribers who make this vital coverage possible and the updates to our homepage really help to deliver complex information in different, clear and concise ways. It’s excellent to see our product, technology, subscriptions and editorial teams continue to work seamlessly despite all working remotely.”


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