Local mayors are devastated by Australia's largest publisher cutting jobs and closing more than 100 newspapers across the country.
News Corp Australia announced on Thursday the bulk of its regional and suburban community papers will go digital-only from June 29.
It has been reported up to a third of jobs at the company could be axed under the restructure, but the final figure has not been settled.
"Today's announcements ... will mean some job roles will change and regretfully, will lead to job losses," chief executive Michael Miller said on Thursday.
"COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing."
The changes affect 112 News Corp papers, with 36 to close and 76 to go digital.
Australian Local Government Association president David O'Loughlin said it was another blow for regional communities.
"Local newspapers have done a terrific job at telling local stories," he told AAP.
"There's a real risk now of those stories not being told unless they're sensationalised and make it into the major statewide mastheads."
He doubted the papers that remained in a digital format would last long, saying coronavirus had forever broken the link between local news and local advertising.
"Going digital-only is just another step in the slow slide to extinction," Mr O'Loughlin said.
"New ways need to be found to have local news and local scrutiny."
News Corp's major dailies, including the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph, will become more state focused, drawing content from regional and community journalists.
Larger regional papers, which includes the Hobart Mercury and NT News, will continue to be published.
The Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily and North Shore Times, which Mr Miller said serve Sydney's "most affluent suburbs", will still be printed.
Some regional and community titles will no longer exist but their journalists will continue to feed copy into the local masthead.
In an email to staff seen by AAP, Mr Miller pointed to the coronavirus' impact on print advertising revenue for the changes.
He said there would have to be a fundamental shift in the way the company operated, including hiring digital-only journalists and focusing on online advertising.
With the bulk of the closures in her state, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a sad day.
"These are papers that have led campaigns resulting in changes to better the lives of their communities," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Many of these papers have been part of their communities for more than 100 years."
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said the closures underlined the crisis faced by Australian media.
"The closure of so many mastheads represents an immense blow to local communities," he said.
Mr Murphy said the union was still waiting for clarity on how many jobs would go and expected fair treatment for any staff forced to leave.
Media companies across the country are making massive cuts or shutting shop completely during the coronavirus pandemic, with the latest including Buzzfeed Australia and 10 Daily.
Australian Associated Press