THE RYERSON INDEX
to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers
The GREAT NEWSPAPER PURGE of 2020
For some time now, there has been much speculation regarding the change in the nature of newspapers in Australia, with a switch from newsprint to digital being the most likely suggestion. Fairfax has, up to now, been the primary target of this speculation, with comments going back to 2013 regarding the cessation of weekday print editions of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Thankfully, this has remained speculation.
Until April 2020.
The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic caused huge disruption to most countries. In Australia (and many other countries), businesses were forced to close, personal movement was severely restricted, and working from home became the norm for a large number of people - all with the aim of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Large-scale business closures, and the reduction in spending by the general populace, had a severe impact in the newspaper industry. Almost overnight, the advertising income stream for most publications dried up. During the second week of April 2020, the two major newspaper publishers (News Corp and Australian Community Media (ACM)) announced the suspension of many of their smaller mastheads until at least the end of June. The stated intention of all publishers was that the "suspensions" would only be temporary.
News Corp was the first to break ranks, announcing on 28 May the closure of a number of regional and suburban publications, and the switch of many more to become digital only. Thus a very large number of print mastheads have ceased to exist, with in many cases their final print edition being in the second week of April 2020.
As at the end of April 2021, most of the suspended ACM publications remain suspended. Five publications (NSW - Armidale and Dungog; Qld - Goondiwindi; SA - Kingston and Port Pirie) returned to print in the third week of April after 12 months in suspension, but these are the exceptions. Whether others will resume, or remain "suspended", is unknown.
As you can imagine, Ryerson has a vested interest in whether or not a paper's print edition ceases to exist. We have attempted to list all those publications which we know have been suspended, digitised or closed down, and these state-by-state lists can be accessed via the buttons below. If you find we have mis-classified any paper, or you can supply additional information to that published, please contact us so we can correct the record.