Entertainment TV WIN News slashes more regional TV journalism jobs in Queensland, Victoria, parts of NSW
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WIN News slashes more regional TV journalism jobs in Queensland, Victoria, parts of NSW

In a blow to regional communities, WIN News has announced more jobs will go. Photo: ABC News
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Regional TV station WIN News has announced it will cut more regional journalism jobs in Queensland and Victoria.

WIN announced on Monday that regional TV news in Queensland, Victoria and parts of southern New South Wales would move to statewide bulletins.

The new bulletins will broadcast into Mackay, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Albury-Wodonga.

It is a double blow to country communities, with regional-based Channel Nine journalists already set to lose their jobs from July 1 when WIN and Nine merge in an agreement announced in March.

WIN chief executive Andrew Lancaster indicated in a statement that Victoria and Queensland would be the hardest hit.

“The move to state-based bulletins in Queensland and Victoria will result in a reduction in news gathering staff in these regions as well as in the news production facility in Wollongong,” he said.

“WIN will make every attempt to redeploy, second or retrain any impacted employees to suitable alternative employment within the WIN Group.”

Up to 20 journalism jobs could be cut in Victoria. Photo: ABC News

Sources have told the ABC that in Victoria, production staff at each regional bureau would be cut to one journalist and one camera operator.

This could mean up to 19 journalists and camera operators might be stood down, with three to five job losses at each of the bureaus in Traralgon, Bendigo, Ballarat and Shepparton.

A WIN spokeswoman said it was still too early to speculate on where the job losses would be as they were talking with staff about redeployment and other opportunities.

The WIN News statement said there would be “additional local news gathering staff” in Albury-Wodonga, which closed its local news bureau in June 2019.

Cutting could create ‘news deserts’

Media and Arts Alliance Victoria and Tasmania regional director Adam Portelli said WIN’s “short-sighted cost cutting was a betrayal of local audiences”.

He said the pandemic showed the importance of rural and regional media in informing the community and hold government to account.

“Today’s decision just undermines that,” he said.

“This decision is contributing to a real danger in this country of news deserts in regional and rural Australia.”

Grassroots companies see opportunities

Media proprietor and commentator Chris Earle recently started the Loddon Herald newspaper and said Australia’s big media companies were turning their backs on regional and rural communities.

“There is no excuse for walking away from these economic and social engine rooms of Australia,” he said.

“It’s an insult to country areas and it’s an insult to the future that these country areas continue to carve out against these odds put in their way by some large companies.”

He said it was this kind of attitude that had led to a surge in small media start-ups in regional towns, such as the Loddon Herald.

“We are seeing a resurgence in grassroots local newspapers in local communities because that’s what keep communities connected,” Mr Earle said.

“If the large media companies are walking away from country, rural and regional areas of Victoria and other parts of Australia, they’ve lost their connection.

“They’re nothing more than a source of entertainment, not news.”

ABC