Former WIN journalist speaks out after network axed 9 local bulletins
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Jeff Sargeant reacts to the regional television network's cuts despite receiving funding from the Federal Government.
A monumental loss for local news - the WIN Network announcing it will cut 9 regional news bulletins, and several jobs.
Australia’s largest regional commercial television network, WIN has long been a springboard for up-and-coming journalists - including Today Show host Karl Stefanovic.
Our very own Leonardo Puglisi first broke the story - an hour before the media release was published, telling ABC Radio "a lot more generic stories" are expected.
WIN joins the growing number of media outlets who are fast disappearing from the regions.
This time last year, News Corp shed 500 employees and 14 regional mastheads & another 100 moved online.
Declining advertising revenue and the pandemia are reportedly to blame for the loss of local bulletins - and according to some, no news is bad news for regional communities.
From July 1 at WIN:
Regional bulletins in Queensland and Victoria will be replaced with state-based bulletins
Those bulletins will be broadcast into more areas, which is set to create some jobs
And all bulletins, nationwide, will air at the new time slot of 5:30pm, instead of 6 - as WIN re-enters its affiliation with Nine
WIN’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Lancaster acknowledges there will be job cuts, though it's not known how many.
Jeff Sargeant was a reporter for WIN in Bendigo for several years, leaving just before the network underwent an affiliation swap with Channel 9 & 10.
He says the regional media landscape has been shrinking for many years, but wasn’t worried about cuts when he was there.
"It was a lot of fun, it was hard work - they're small newsrooms," Sargeant told 6 News.
"We would do 2-3 stories a day."
The ABC has pledged to invest in regional news, using revenue made from deals with Facebook and Google under the news media bargaining code.
The cuts at WIN were despite the network receiving $4.5 million in funding from the Federal Government's Public Interest News Gathering program last year.
Representatives from WIN have been hauled before the Communications Department to explain their decision.
As communities, and an industry, reel.
(Originally aired here on May 30 2021)