15 May 2017

Fairfax's Nelson Mail looks likely to cut circulation

9:14 pm on 15 May 2017

The Nelson Mail looks set to follow the Marlborough Express in cutting its circulation to fewer days each week.

Nelson Mail editor Victoria Guild, left, and chief news director Sally Kidson

Nelson Mail editor Victoria Guild, left, and chief news director Sally Kidson in the newsroom of the 150-year-old regional paper. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The move comes just two weeks after the Commerce Commission denied a merger between the Mail's owner, Fairfax Media, and NZME.

Fairfax announced today it would consult the Nelson community for feedback about what it wanted from its local newspaper.

Fairfax Media South Island editor Joanna Norris said it was likely the changes would be similar to those made to another Fairfax-owned paper, the Marlborough Express, which in May shifted from five days a week to three.

"So, a morning newspaper several times a week, probably four times a week, and also news right throughout the day on digital platforms ... It is possible there will be some job losses. We simply cannot determine what the level of resource will be until we know what the publishing model is."

In addition, the printing of the newspaper would shift from Nelson to a plant in Christchurch on 29 June, Mrs Norris said.

She said the community would have the opportunity to tell the company which aspects of the newspaper it would like to stay.

"We're asking people things like: what should we never stop doing, what are the non-negotiables... how do they consume their news and on what platforms... which days of the week is it important to get a printed newspaper, and would they, for instance, consume their news through an email newsletter in their inbox."

Nelson's residents will be able to submit feedback in the next three weeks, with a decision on the paper's future due in early June.

Mrs Norris said she hoped any changes would be fully implemented by the end of July.