New magazine planned for north-west Sydney in suburban newspaper restructure

Fairfax Media’s Australian Community Media division has announced a restructure of its suburban publishing operations in western and north-west Sydney, including the closure of six newspapers and the launch of a new magazine.

Staff were briefed on Thursday about the proposed changes affecting the free suburban newspapers Parramatta-Holroyd Sun, Blacktown Sun, St Marys-Mt Druitt Star, Penrith City Gazette, Hills News and Rouse Hill Courier.

“We look forward to continuing to serve our north-west Sydney audience through a new publication,” ACM Director John Angilley said.

“We are intensely proud of our current suburban mastheads; however we could not ignore the commercial realities of operating these titles and need to embrace a new and more commercially sustainable approach to delivering our journalism in the city’s north-west into the longer term.”

Further details of the new magazine, including its name, format and distribution, will be announced shortly before launch in early 2018.

The proposed restructure would result in 11 fewer full-time equivalent positions.

Mr Angilley said consultation with affected employees was now under way and no final decisions had been made.

“Our priority in the next few weeks is to consult with our staff to ensure everyone understands the proposal and has the opportunity to provide feedback,” he said.

Fairfax will continue to publish 10 suburban newspapers across Sydney.

Other ACM publications in the greater Sydney region, such as St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser, Camden-Narellan Advertiser, Wollondilly Advertiser, Blue Mountains Gazette, Hawkesbury Gazette, Hawkesbury Courier, Liverpool City Champion and Fairfield City Champion, are not affected by the proposed changes announced on Thursday.

Fairfax’s ACM network includes regional, rural and suburban newspapers and websites in every Australian state and territory.