WIN to close Wide Bay newsroom
THE WIN Network will cease producing local news bulletins in Wide Bay next Friday.
A WIN Network statement dated June 19 said that the decision was made because of the "commercial viability” of funding the content.
"Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers, that don't face the same regulatory conditions that challenge traditional media, has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions,” it said.
Wide Bay is one of four newsrooms being shut by the network: the others are in Wagga Wagga, Albury and Orange/Dubbo.
"WIN remains committed to local news and content but in a regional media environment that has its challenges and faces increasing program supply and infrastructure costs, WIN needs to continue to review its operating model to ensure the ongoing success of the business,” the statement said.
"WIN's priority in the short term will be working with the staff impacted to attempt to redeploy them into other roles in the Network.”
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that up to 40 staff may be affected by the closures, while the ABC understands the figure to be closer to 30.
Recent local stories covered by WIN News Wide Bay include the spate of tragic deaths on South Burnett roads, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd's triumph at the recent Federal Election, the Bike 4 Burns charity ride which passed through Biggenden, and the search for missing woman Theresa Dougherty, who disappeared from her Barkles Rd property in Isis looking for her missing dogs.
Biggenden resident Brian Lowe said he switches between the evening Wide Bay news bulletins on Channel 7 and the Nine Network and that he believes it's a "huge mistake” to close the newsroom.
"They use the (local) news to set up into the national news,” Mr Lowe said.
"They would have a huge Wide Bay Burnett audience, local people will now go to (Channel) Seven and more than likely stay at Seven.
"It's always about the bottom line... very disappointing.”