Guest Speaker Des Morris with President David and Chairman Graeme Tindle
Chairman for the evening Rotarian Graeme Tindle introduced our guest speaker Des Morris who spoke about the future of newspapers particularly Country Newspapers.

Des was originally from Mildura and has had extensive experience working in newspapers and broadcasting generally on the administrative side.
He joined The Sunraysia Newspaper in the Sales department in 1957 where he stayed for 6 years before moving to Swan Hill to take up the position as General Manager of their local newspaper where he stayed for 20 years.
In this time a great deal of restructuring had occurred in the Newspaper industry, with large business entities consisting of several Regional and local papers becoming the norm and often incorporating other media outlets.
With his experience in the industry Des moved back to Mildura in 1980 to take on the role as CEO of a collection of media outlets which included, a number of local papers, radio stations 3YB Warrnambool, 3CV Central Victoria and 3MA Sunraysia.
He has been honoured with life membership of both the State and Federal Country Newspaper Association.
Just to add to a busy life, Des was a member of Lions for 20 years and had 7 years with Rotary in Mildura. After retirement he and his late wife moved to Warragul in 2002 to be closer to family members.
Des told those assembled that Newspapers go back 300 years, and in Australia there is a long history of newspapers, The Geelong Advertiser began in 1840 and still publishes today. In the gold rush era there were some 70 papers in and around the goldfields in Central Victoria.
Newspapers are published in a number of forms; there are the National and Metropolitan papers in the larger cities that publish daily.
Many large Regional Centres also have daily newspapers. Suburban papers rarely, if ever, publish daily but are rather tri or bi weekly and sometimes weekly publications.
It is usual for country newspapers such as our Warragul and Drouin gazette to publish once a week.
Whilst speaking of our local Gazette he commented on how fortunate we were to have a family owned paper that took pride in publishing community news and that it was a quality local paper.
Des told members that much had changed in the time he has worked in the industry, particularly in the way that papers are actually produced to where they are put together totally by computer and sent to a printing centre, often some way away to be printed. For example The Age newspaper is actually printed in Ballarat even our own Gazette is printed in Traralgon.
Newspaper production has been a highly intensive labour process and these changes have helped reduce costs over many years.
Whilst technology has changed the production process it also threatens the viability of papers, as people now seek to get their news in electronic format. Younger people in particular use various platforms including social media to access their news.
He said that papers had faced challenges many times. It was said that radio would bring about its demise that the introduction of television and then colour television would bring on their demise but none of this happened
The Murdoch News Limited publications were an example where they had embraced technology and publish on line pay for access news. On the other hand Fairfax were far too slow in adopting this and have paid a price.
Des reminded his audience that, morning radio and television still take their news leads for the day’s broadcasts from the morning papers.
He said that the biggest challenge to the print media had been the disruption of their Classified Advertising sections as new technology and advertising platforms had significantly impacted what were traditionally “rivers of gold” for the large metropolitan papers.
In conclusion Des said that he felt that there would always be a role for quality reporting and writing, some in newsprint and some electronically. He felt for Regional papers costs and population were determining factors, he was confident that quality country papers that maintained their relevance to their local community had a good future, certainly in the medium term.
Des aid that an adage in the country newspaper community was “Half the readership were trying to get something into the paper and the other half were trying to keep something out of it.”

In thanking Des, Chairman Graeme said that we were fortunate to have someone with such a rich experience in media to talk to the Club. His presentation was very interesting with some great humour in some off the headlines and unfortunate wording at times in reports and advertising.