Country news giant to cut papers, printing

ACM boss Antony Catalano says the regional media company will stop publishing some newspapers.
ACM boss Antony Catalano says the regional media company will stop publishing some newspapers.

The country's largest regional media company will stop publishing some of its newspapers and stand down workers as it grapples with coronavirus.

Australian Community Media, which owns titles including The Canberra Times and the Newcastle Herald, will also shut down printing sites across four states and territories.

"We cannot sustain the same level of useful work or costs moving forward," ACM boss Antony Catalano told staff on Tuesday.

"At this stage it is not possible to say when we will be able to resume normal operations."

Some employees will be stood down and others will have their hours reduced.

The shutdown is expected to last until at least the end of June.

Non-daily newspapers will no longer be printed and instead run reduced coverage online.

Daily publications like The Canberra Times, the Newcastle Herald and the Ballarat Courier will still be printed.

Weekly agriculture papers like The Land and Queensland Country Life will also continue printing.

The company has given notice to more than 30 landlords of offices across the country that it intends to exit leases to reduce rental costs.

Printing sites across the ACT, South Australia, Victoria and NSW will be shut down.

Mr Catalano said the company intended to register for the JobKeeper payment as soon as it could.

Executives across the company will also be taking a pay cut.

"We are closely monitoring developments and will keep employees updated as things change," he said.

ACM publishes more than 160 publications across the country.

Australian Associated Press