Seven West Media’s regional newspapers raise prices as paper costs rise

The publisher of Western Australia’s leading regional newspapers is raising the purchase price as global supply chain issues drive up the cost of the paper they are printed on.

Seven West Media, which also publishes The West Australian, recently raised the price of four regional mastheads under its umbrella.

The South Western Times, Geraldton Guardian, Albany Advertiser and Manjimup Bridgetown Times saw their prices increase between $1.30 and $1.90.

The price increases and the factors driving them were revealed to readers at a series of public meetings held in the WA region.

Editor Anthony De Ceglie chaired one of the meetings in Geraldton.

“The number one factor…is the supply chain issues for the physical paper we print on,” he said.

The Albany Advertiser was one of many newspapers to see its price increase.(ABC Southwest: Sam Bold)

However, Mr De Ceglie said he also hoped to highlight the “value of journalism we provide” to local communities through local newspapers.

“We still have 19 physical regional newspapers, and we’re really proud that we haven’t closed a single newspaper during COVID,” De Ceglie said.

A close up of a newspaper corner
Regional newspapers generally employ teams of young entry-level journalists.(ABC Southwest: Sam Bold)

Mr De Ceglie, who began his journalism career at a community newspaper in Collie, said regional newspapers continued to provide steady sources of income for publishers, which in turn supported staffing.

“If you’re producing a newspaper, you’re going to get more eyeballs, and the digital advertising dollar is not the same as the physical advertising dollar,” De Ceglie said.

The interest of young people still piqued by paper

The South West editor of The West Australian, Jakeb Waddell, said that while mainstays such as ‘letters to the editor’ remained a stronghold of the ‘older population’, anecdotal evidence indicated that a younger population maintained interest in newspapers.

“For example, the local netball team. It’s really exciting for them to see their photos in the newspaper rather than as part of a photo dump on an online social media album,” Ms. Waddell.

“We still see that engagement with young audiences.

“It’s a slightly different engagement than the older population…but there’s still something really exciting about choosing a tangible print product, which is really great to see.”

About Debra D. Johnson

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