Hunter Independent to go on hiatus
Hunter Independent will go on an indefinite hiatus following the March 23 state election.
Launched in mid-2016, Hunter Independent sought to encourage a diverse media offering in the Hunter at a time when local publications were being axed and larger companies were downsizing their operations.
In the last five years alone the region has lost a weekly newspaper in The Post and almost 70 staff from the local Fairfax (now Nine) publications in cuts that included over half of the Newcastle Herald photographers, The Maitland Mercury reducing from a five to a three-day-per-week publication and The Singleton Argus going from twice weekly to once weekly.
A high quality print publication was also launched in the Newcastle Sunday, however the pressures of generating revenue saw it close after only 11 editions.
After almost three years as a self-funded enterprise the time has come to move on from Hunter Independent. The door has not been completely closed, however its future existence will require a profitable funding model.
Thanks must go to those who have provided words of encouragement and engaged with the publication in that time. That support has kept the paper running as long as it has.
It’s a well-worn point but it’s worth making again – news production is not free. Without community support, which includes buying newspapers or online subscriptions, cuts will continue to be made to local publications until there is nothing left.
While local media may now be a shadow of its former self, a reality without its existence is much bleaker.