ALLIED Press, the family company that publishes the Southland Express, has backed its commitment to community and rural newspapers.
It follows concerns that coverage of local issues in some communities could be worse off after Stuff announced plans to either sell or close many of its community and rural newspapers.
Stuff, the New Zealand arm of Fairfax Media, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, announced last month it would close or sell 28 rural or community papers, including in Southland and Otago.
Southern newspapers affected are the Invercargill Eye, NewsLink, Otago Southland Farmer, Clutha Leader, Queenstown Mirror, and Waitaki Herald
Up to 60 staff could be affected.
Allied Press chief executive officer Grant McKenzie reinforced the importance of print in reaction to the Fairfax decision.
“Newspapers are at the heart of many of these communities and we value the connection we have with our audience and advertisers.
“The decision by Fairfax may present some opportunities for Allied Press, but most of those markets are already well served by our titles.
“Allied Press titles have a close connection and vital role to play in the communities they serve.
“The Fairfax decision does not change our commitment or desire to grow our audience.
“Allied Press has 13 titles providing vital community news and information from North Canterbury to Invercargill.
“Our commitment to these titles remains strong.”