News Ltd to shut down Coast papers

NEWS Limited is shutting down its Quest newspapers on the Sunshine Coast, leaving dozens of people out of a job.

The Daily understands editorial, advertising and administration staff were told this morning that the Journal papers were closing down.

News Limited today said the closures would affect the Caloundra, Maroochy and Noosa titles and the Weekender magazine.

The Noosa Journal and Weekender were acquired by News Limited in 2006 and 2007  and extended to include local editions in Maroochydore and Caloundra.

Next week's editions will be their last.

News Limited's managing director of newspapers and digital products Jerry Harris said: "It is with regret that we are closing these titles, but with continuing slow trading conditions on the Sunshine Coast the reality is that they are 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.

The news comes after rumours were swirling through the industry a couple of weeks ago that News' new CEO Kim Williams planned to move in on the loss-making Coast operation.

Quest Newspapers had only launched Caloundra and Maroochy versions of its paper just over a year ago.

Daily editor in chief Mark Furler said he was saddened by the demise of the competitors, particularly given the loss of local jobs.

"It's never a good thing to see a newspaper close down,'' Mr Furler said.

The news comes as the Daily-run community newspapers are about to get a fresh, new look.

"We are proud of the fact that we produce such a diversity of newspapers from Caboolture to Noosa,'' Mr Furler said.

"We know that people in Caloundra, Kawana, Buderim, Maroochydore, Nambour, the Blackall Range, Coolum, Noosa, Bribie Island and Caboolture love having their own local newspaper.''



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