Concern as CNG kills off Express

NEWSPAPER conglomerate Community News Group, owned by 7West Media, has killed off the Guardian Express newspaper in a round of major amalgamations and redundancies.

The Guardian has been merged into the Eastern Reporter, which currently covers Morley, and will now carry that name.

CNG says the changes are aimed at “simplifying its masthead names” and streamlining news access, with the Express the sixth masthead to disappear since last August.

The director of the WA branch of the journalists’ union, Tiffany Venning, said any closure of mastheads carried with it redundancies which were a loss for local communities.

“They’re down to, what I consider, a very limited number of reporters,” Ms Venning said.

“It just doesn’t seem it would be possible [to report] in any sort of adequate or in-depth way.”

The discreet notice on page two of the final edition of the Guardian Express outlined Community News Group’s continued commitment to “bringing you the best in local news and information”.

“It would seem a stretch – that’s a very generous way of putting it,” Ms Venning said.

“Sounds just like fancy management terms for ‘we’re just cutting back’.

“These unfortunate things; they sort of become a self-fulfilling prophecy in that [owners] go ‘oh, we’re not getting revenue so we need to make costs, so we need to get rid of journalists,’ which produce the content and then advertisers go, ‘what am I actually paying to advertise in because there’s not much,’ and it just becomes this vicious cycle.

“It’s pretty shit.”

The advertising manager of Perth Suburban Newspapers (which represents independent publishers such as the Voice), Greg Christian, has crunched the numbers and said CNG’s circulation has dropped from 633,500 in March 2016 to 347,000 under the new model.

CNG didn’t respond to questions.

by SEAN HILL

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