Big loss for Vic newspapers with seven shut downs

The Victorian newspaper landscape is set to take a big hit after News Corp revealed plans to slash seven of its local community mastheads by the end of this month.

The group of newspapers on the chopping block are The Melbourne Leader, the Berwick Leader, the Brimbank Leader, the Free Press Leader, the Hobsons Bay Leader, the Melton Leader and the Wyndham Leader, and final delivery of the papers will be on July 1.

News Corp attributes the mass exodus from printed news to increased competition and the unavoidable shift away from print publishing.

"News Corp Australia continues to reshape its business to meet the needs of its audiences and commercial partners, and is confidently investing in areas that will provide returns over the long term,” says a News Corp Australia spokesperson.

“Leader Community News will be focusing its investment on brands which have strong audience engagement and solid advertising market share, and will be investing in, and rejuvenating, its portfolio of community titles.

"However, the reality is that in today’s fragmented market there is more competition than ever before and in some of our smaller markets, publishing a printed publication is not sustainable.  Therefore we have decided to close the following seven Leader titles: Berwick, Brimbank, Free Press, Hobsons Bay, Melbourne, Melton and Wyndham."

It is unclear how many redundancies are expected to swing from the closures in News Corp’s Leader Community Newspapers group.

The media conglomerate’s swift abandon of seven newspapers follows Fairfax Media’s gloomy assessment of print with predictions of a digital-only model in the near future.

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