Editorial - June 25, 2016: A new era in the News

DID you notice the difference when you picked up the paper this morning, or clicked on the website?

This masthead is on the way to having a new owner.

APN News and Media has agreed to sell its 12 daily papers and more than 60 non-daily newspapers in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

News Corp, providing it gets competition watchdog approval, has bought us for slightly more than $36 million. For the reader, this change will mean….. nothing.

Particularly in the short-term.

There will be some upside in the medium term as a world player like News has access to a far wider range of writers, photographs and content options than a regional entity like ARM.

If readers get access to those people in real time, it can only make our offering more robust.

And make no mistake, anyone who bought this title was doing so because of its history, its community ties - and its money-making potential.

We have more journalists, and some damn good ones at that, than any other media organisation in town, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

Selling to News also has to help the longevity of print. They do the same thing we do nearby - provide compelling newspapers and websites to local communities.

Doing things on a larger scale has to mean you do it more efficiently.

News will know intimately the point of difference in a town like this is that things that happen here, get reported here first. Our front counter staff know our customers like friends.

It can only be that way if we are to continue to prosper.

APN wants to focus on its radio stations and outdoor advertising business. Fair enough.

As our chief executive Neil Monaghan told our staff yesterday:  ''It is much better to be working for someone who wants to own you, opposed to someone who wants to sell you.''

Let's hope the regulators see it the same way. All around the world, and particularly in Australasia right now, big media entities are merging to make sure they are stable enough to take the fight to new media.

Regional readers should be assured this move helps secure local newsrooms. And that has to be the most important thing to us all.

Bryce Johns,

Australian Regional Media

Editorial Director

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