Adelaide’s independent newspapers are in the doldums. The Independent Weekly has just lost another editor, after incumbent Nick Carne quit yesterday over the paper’s editorial direction, and The Adelaide Review is being hawked around to prospective buyers.

Independent Weekly part owner and now managing editor Paul Hamra says the disagreement with Carne was sparked by changes to the paper’s editorial mix, including the reinstatement of some recently dumped contributors and a greater online emphasis.

So Carne, who’s been with the paper as an editor and journalist since it started 18 months ago, quit and another journalist, Ian Williams, has gone with him.

News of the departures sent rumours flying around Adelaide yesterday of a staff walkout over management interference, but Hamra says that’s not the case. Carne is finishing up the next Sunday’s edition before he leaves next week.

Last year, founding journalist and editor Alex Kennedy and chairman Ian Meikle quit after The Independent published an apology over a story surrounding the Coopers Brewery. Both were upset over interference by management and the apology was the last straw.

The Adelaide Advertiser (prop. R Murdoch) crows over The Independent‘s troubles today, describing the city’s only broadsheet as a “struggling niche newspaper”. It reports “sources at the paper said management was now restructuring”.

At the same time, things aren’t much better over at the fortnightly freesheet, The Adelaide Review. Proprietor, Spaniard Javier Moll, dropped into Australia a few months ago, saw his paper was a shambles, lopped off a few heads – and warned the survivors that they had to make a profit or he’d be selling the paper.

The poor Review has its moments, but reading it is like watching an old friend die. And sometimes you wish they’d just put it out of its misery.

Crikey reported rumours last year that Moll had approached the Advertiser to take the masthead off his hands last year. We now hear that, given the price Moll paid for the paper, he’s asking too much for anyone to be interested – yet.

* Christian Kerr contributes to News Limited’s Messenger Press papers in Adelaide.

Peter Fray

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