NSW Nationals pull advertising from WIN TV over news axing

The NSW Nationals Party have suspended all advertising with WIN TV following the announcement of the closure of newsrooms in Orange, Dubbo, Albury, Wagga Wagga and Queensland’s Wide Bay.

NSW Nationals had spent up big during the Federal Election but has now ceased any advertising due to the loss of up to 40 jobs in local news.

“NSW Nationals will always fight for more news in the bush, not less. We believe in the important role journalism plays not only in our democracy but in our communities, bringing people together and keeping them informed. It is often a thankless job, but one that is important, nonetheless,” said NSW Nationals State Director Ross Cadell.

“In the first six months of this year we spent close to $3 million advertising on regional television in NSW, but as of this moment I have instructed our Party to immediately cease all advertising with WIN TV until they reverse this decision. These communities deserve better.”

In August last year the Bruce Gordon (pictured) owned company announced it was abandoning its news bulletin in Tasmania, axing 9 jobs. While some journalists and camera operators would be left on the ground, but moving presentation to Wollongong, with news bulletins would be cut completely on weekends.

WIN also began taking a feed from SKY News resulting in news that is not sourced locally.

Meanwhile in a statement the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance said the loss of up to 40 jobs was a devastating blow and highlights a crisis that demands government intervention.

MEAA Media director Katelin McInerney said, “The steady ongoing decline of journalism in regional Australia means there is a decline in the public information needed by regional communities. Fewer journalists on the ground, fewer local stories, fewer local voices causes immense harm to these communities. Homogenised news sourced from the big cities is not a replacement – it merely underlines how the community is being poorly served. It means a dangerous loss of scrutiny of regional issues including local politics. For the rest of Australia it means that there is less journalism available from the heartland of Australia that lies beyond the urban fringe.

“It’s vital that local MPs and community leaders take a stand to arrest the decline in their local news media. MEAA calls on the Morrison Government to work with media stakeholders and local communities to urgently develop an action plan to arrest the loss of public interest journalism and to encourage and promote the development and growth of local news media. Reporting of local news is essential to regional communities. It goes to the heart of the role the fourth estate must play in informing and promoting a healthy functioning democracy.”

12 Comments:

  1. ABC gets $44M over 3 years for regional news. Foxtel gets $30M over 4 years for women’s sport (which they already covered pretty well). Could be a bit of a maneuver here to get some government cash to support regional commercial news.

  2. All part of a ‘long game’ being played out so as to lobby the Govt for law changes that will see all regional TV owned and controlled by one owner/company. And not hard to work that out. Aggregation was destined to fail from the start. The former monopoly regionals should have been required to run local production and fresh syndicated programming quotaa across 2 TV services in each market instead. There was never enough revenue to spread across 3 competing networks in regional areas.

    • Whilst I agree that the Frankenstein-like, cobbled-together “aggregation” was one of the more stupid ideas dreamt up by Bob Hawke and his cronies to keep Kerry Packer on-side, I can’t imagine that anyone in their right mind would be seriously proposing unscrambling that omelette and turning the clock back over thirty years to “Multi-Channel Services”. In any case, the idea of MCS was that only the original channel in each market was gonna carry local news, so it would make no difference to the arguments now being raised by the MEAA.

  3. Where will this end? Will there come a time when there will be no bulletins but just a 2 minute news update. Used to be one of the stringers for South coast nsw 14 years ago when there was good coverage. It’s a sad time when we are losing regional news

    • The worst case end result would be that they just start showing the metropolitan area news bulletins to the whole state, including the regional areas. That’d be a complete loss of local news.

  4. Good.

    There should be licence restrictions on service provision to regional areas.

    Can anyone tell me how it works in the US or Canada? I know different systems but lots of regional areas there too.

    • The bulk of regional areas in the US have a lot more viewers. That said, I can’t see why WIN couldn’t do a combined bulletin for Southern NSW, sort of like Prime do for the North Coast. I mean Prime Wagga and Albury already share a lot of stories.

      • I think Albury falls under the “Regional Victoria” market and not “Southern NSW” as Albury is closer in distance to Melbourne than Sydney and many of the state-level bulletins that airs in Albury comes from Melbourne due to aforementioned distance. I think many regional broadcasters do licence-wide bulletins, but mostly from a single hub.

        And I find it hypocritical of the Nationals to complain as many of these problems comes from their coalition partners (and Labor is just as bad as they started this whole thing with aggregation back in the 1980s and 1990s).

        • Yes, according to ACMA Albury is in Victoria, hence the station call-sign AMV4 (as it was), even though it is in NSW, whilst the radio station 2AY has a NSW “2” call-sign. Go figure.

      • But if you were to include the whole of regional NSW as one market it would be bigger than some regional US markets. Given less revenue with the affiliation swap this was going to happen. Win in Orange Dubbo was always presented out of Wollongong and you could tell even when Prime had their service live. They should have kept the newsrooms open but combined the bulletins and had a few journalists based in Orange, Dubbo, Wagga like what Nine SCA stations do.

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