WIN News axes five regional newsrooms across NSW and Qld

WIN News has axed five regional commercial TV newsrooms, informing staff in Orange, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Dubbo and Wide Bay (which covers Hervey Bay and Bundaberg) that they will not have jobs from next Friday.

WIN confirmed that the decision is “based on the commercial viability of funding news in these areas”.

“Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers, that don’t face the same regulatory conditions that challenge traditional media, has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions,” WIN said in a statement.

“In our other markets nothing has changed. WIN remains committed to local news and content but in a regional media environment that has its challenges and faces increasing program supply and infrastructure costs, WIN needs to continue to review its operating model to ensure the ongoing success of the business.

“WIN’s priority in the short term will be working with the staff impacted to attempt to redeploy them into other roles in the network.”

WIN News Central West’s chief of staff, Annabelle Amos, revealed the news last night on Twitter, stating that “it’s a sad day for regional news”.

Reports state that between 30 and 45 camera operators, editors and journalists will be affected.

Orange-based reporter Alison Dance also took to Twitter, calling the news a “devastating blow” for regional Australia.

MEAA said the cuts signal a “crisis that demands government intervention”.

“In August last year WIN announced it would abandon its news bulletin in Tasmania. While some journalists and camera operators would be left on the ground, Tasmanian news would be presented from Wollongong and news bulletins would be cut completely on weekends. That decision cost nine jobs,” MEAA said in a statement.

“WIN also began taking a feed from Sky News – once again news that is not sourced locally.”

MEAA media director Katelin McInerney added that the decision is the latest in a “steady ongoing decline of journalism in regional Australia” and “public information needed by regional communities”.

“Fewer journalists on the ground, fewer local stories, fewer local voices causes immense harm to these communities,” she said.

“Homogenised news sourced from the big cities is not a replacement – it merely underlines how the community is being poorly served. It means a dangerous loss of scrutiny of regional issues including local politics.

“Reporting of local news is essential to regional communities.”

McInerney urged local MPs and community leaders to take a stand against the cuts, and the government to develop an action plan.

“MEAA calls on the Morrison Government to work with media stakeholders and local communities to urgently develop an action plan to arrest the loss of public interest journalism and to encourage and promote the development and growth of local news media,” she said.

The announcement is the latest in a string of restructures, sales, and redundancies for both regional and metropolitan newsrooms.

Most recently, in March, West Australian Newspapers called for voluntary redundancies as part of an “integration” of The Sunday Times, The West Australian, Perth Now and, and has since announced a digital subscription and paywall model.

And in April, Antony Catalano bought Nine’s regional newspapers for around $115m.

WIN is Australia’s largest regional TV network, and an affiliate of CBS’ Network Ten.


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