Press to fall silent at Murray Bridge, but local paper to continue publication

Print centre to close; The Standard continues to publish

Regional media company Australian Community Media, the owner of the Murray Valley Standard and other titles in South Australia, has announced it will close several of its print sites including Murray Bridge's printing centre.

The closure is scheduled for August 28 with the loss of 26 jobs.

The Standard and other South Australian ACM mastheads including the Port Lincoln Times, the Whyalla News, The Transcontinental, The Recorder, The Islander, the Victor Harbor Times, the Naracoorte Herald, the Border Chronicle and the Coastal Leader will continue to be printed at NewsCorp's Mile End presses in Adelaide.

ACM executive chairman Antony Catalano said the decision to close the print sites was based on "the commercial reality of publishing in the modern digital era".

The online shift of news audiences meant fewer printed publications and reductions in the volume of printing, he said.

"This has left our printing presses with more capacity than there is demand - and that was before the economic challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic."

In a statement to staff on Friday, Chief Executive Officer Allen Williams said the difficult decision was made following a review of all elements of the business and was aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of Australia's biggest regional media business.

"We assure you that we are not stepping away from publishing printed copies of our newspapers - to the contrary, the printed newspaper will still play a significant role in the future of ACM. We have made the decision that ACM does not need to own print facilities to achieve this objective," he said.

"The loss of jobs at some of our print centres has been a difficult decision and not one that we have taken lightly.

"We would like to acknowledge the efforts, over many years, by the dedicated individuals who have manned the presses at these print centres and ensured our valued newspapers have been produced to the highest standards and delivered to communities around the country."

"We wish them well in their future endeavours."