Recommendations to support community newspapers

A Federal Government committee has made 12 recommendations aimed at addressing the viability of local newspapers across Australia.

The recommendations follow an inquiry headed by Dr Anne Webster into the health of regional newspapers in the face of substantial digital disruption and costs.

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 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,” Dr Webster said.

“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.”