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News drops three Journals from Quest

Wednesday, 21 March 2012
By Print21

Tough tourism conditions on the Sunshine Coast cause News Limited to shut down three Quest community newspapers and a weekly magazine.

Around 30 News Limited editorial staff lost their jobs due to the closure of the Noosa, Maroochy and Caloundra Journals, and the Weekender Magazine. No printers were affected, says News Ltd.

Jerry Harris, managing director of newspapers and digital products for News Limited, announced the closure of the titles with regret. He attributed the publication terminations to ongoing slow trading conditions on the Sunshine Coast, which made the titles on the chopping block no longer commercially viable.

“We have begun consultations with affected staff and intend to redeploy as many as we can into News’ other operations in South East Queensland, but inevitably there will be a number of redundancies.

“News will continue to have a strong presence in the region as the Courier-Mail will strengthen its bureau to improve local coverage, and maintain its involvement with keynote Sunshine Coast sporting and cultural events,” said Harris.

A News Ltd spokesperson told Print21. “There will be one Journal printed across the entire coast (no distinction between Maroochy, Caloundra or Noosa) this week, of regular size. It will have an additional wrap for the team to say farewell to the community and thank them for all their support.”

The cull of coast newspapers comes four months after APN axed two of its free weekly papers, Gold Coast Mail and Robina Mail, while cutting back the frequency of Tweed’s Daily News and the Coffs Coast Advocate. The round of closures in November led to the loss of 35 jobs.

Grant Ferry, general manager of APN-owned Sunshine Coast Daily, says the newsprint market along Queensland’s beaches has had a tough run ever since the GFC, which it has yet to bounce back from. “We have a highly competitive market and I did not expect News Ltd to leave. We knew they were losing money every year, but thought they would hang around.

“I am more focused on the impact of the economy of the staff leaving, as losing so many local people and their jobs is a big deal. We do have some vacancies and these are all talented people. We will try to offer those people roles wherever we can,” said Ferry.

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