A statewide shutdown of non-essential services has just been announced, and takes place from 12 Noon today (Monday, March 23). This has immediate effect for the print and distribution of The Local Paper and Melbourne Observer newspapers.
We will be continuing the weekly publication of our newspapers. We recognise that we have a civic responsibility – especially in these difficult, unprecedented times – to provide a responsible news service with integrity. However, the newspapers will only be available online at our websites: www.LocalPaper.com.au and www.MelbourneObserver.com.au, via the Issuu media platform, and also via Facebook and email.
During the emergency shutdown, we will be unable to produce the weekly printed editions of our newspapers. As well as health and safety issues for our people and our contractors, the Government requires us all to practice ‘social distancing’. This means minimising human contact with the 150 distribution outlets for The Local Paper, and even more newsagency outlets across the state for the Melbourne Observer. We are all being asked to stay at home.
There is also the matter of running our business on strict commercial principles. It is impossible to fund the production of a major free newspaper, when there is little paid advertising because most of our clients have had to close their businesses. Unlike some others, we do not have the resources to run our business at an ongoing financial loss.
So, readers will still be able to read The Local Paper and Melbourne Observer, at no charge, at our websites. We will also be increasing our daily news reports at our websites and Facebook. All of this will be provided without charge.
Our advertising clients will continue to have their advertising published in our online editions. There will be no charge for this service during the emergency. A number of our clients have pre-paid advertising packages. These will be paused, and then resumed when the emergency is clear. This means that these advertisers will receive the full value of their purchase, with the end-date adjusted accordingly. During this emergency, those clients will receive their online advertising without any extra charge.
We regret that the circumstances beyond our control have led to these temporary measures. We commit to providing the best possible news service to our readers. We commit to delivering full value to our advertisers. We look forward to returning normal service as soon as possible. In the meantime, from our family business to you, we extend every good wish. Good health.
Local Media Pty Ltd
Personal Mobile: 0450 399 932