Sunday, November 27, 2022

Pressing matters: report on Australia’s regional newspapers

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House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, Media Release, 23 March 2022

Recommendations to support Australia’s newspaper services in rural, regional and remote areas will be laid out in a report released today by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts.

Committee Chair, Dr Anne Webster MP said, ‘Regional newspapers in Australia represent a large and diverse industry, which has experienced significant challenges over the past decade. With the transition to digital news and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, assessing the health of our regional newspapers is more important than ever before.’

The Committee made 12 recommendations aimed at addressing core sector issues, and implementing alternative and sustainable business practices, to ensure the longevity of local newspapers across Australia.

The Committee also recommended a multi-pronged approach to support the long-term viability of the sector, particularly for small and independent newspapers based in regional and remote Australian communities. The approach includes the funding and development of a project to gather and analyse core longitudinal data on regional newspapers in Australia.

‘For people in regional, rural, or remote communities, regional newspapers are the main source of local information. It also plays an important role in maintaining an interconnected community, and a healthy democracy. A diversity of opinion from all sides of the political spectrum and coverage of local, as well as national issues, is essential to public debate. It is important we ensure the sector remains viable in the long-term’, said Dr Webster.

The report can be accessed from the Committee’s website.

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