15.4 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Shrinking of regional newsrooms threatens civic engagement and debate, study shows

Latest News

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also...

Other News

Hippie fools

Edward Kent, Suffolk Park So, have the ‘hippie’ hipsters of Byron Bay figured out how the new global establishment party at...

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Sally Flannery discovers dark side of ‘Lovemore’

Since declaring her interest in running for Lismore Council, local woman Sally Flannery has been subjected to sustained attacks, both online and upon her property.

Arakwal chemicals

David Gilet, Byron Bay I have long been dismayed by the use of Glyphosate by Parks & Wildlife in Arakwal National...

Interview with Dave Callan

Dave Callan is a big hairy Irish bloke. He’s funny. You would have seen him on Rove and heard him on Triple J – but now you get to see him dance! With backup dancers and a show full of spectacular choreography and a hairy Viking, catch A–Z of Dance at Byron Comedy Fest. Dave told us a little more…

Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Paul Bibby

A decline in the number of journalists covering local news in rural and regional areas means the public is less well informed about and connected to their communities, and is more easily manipulated, a new study has found.

Conducted by the Public Interest Journalism Initiative, the study found that the decline of the traditional media model had seen advertising dollars flowing to search engines and other online platforms rather than media outlets that employ journalists.

Shrinking newsrooms means less coverage of local issues and key regional institutions such as local councils, hospitals and business.

‘The picture that emerges is of a sharp and worrying decline in the amount of local news available to Australians,’ guest authors, Margaret Simons and Gary Dickson wrote.

‘Given that numerous pieces of research worldwide indicate a close relationship between journalism and the broader civic health of communities, this decline has serious implications for the agency, power and health of citizens in Australia’s regions.’

Simons and Dickson surveyed media managers employed by councils in metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

Almost half of respondents noted ‘some decline’ or ‘significant decline’ in local news coverage over the past five years.

‘If we look at the basic news media function of reporting on local government, more than a third of LGAs reported that no journalists attended local government meetings,’ the authors said.

‘Although the figures suggest that some journalists follow up without attending the meeting, the indications are that a large part of local government business goes entirely unscrutinised and unreported.’

Fewer journalists also meant less public accountability of interest groups and institutions.

‘Media is likely to become more partisan and selective, and increasingly controlled and manipulated by those who have the skills and interest to do so,’ the authors said.

‘This, in turn, is likely to lead to less social cohesion.’

The study forms part of the 2019 State of the Regionsreport released last week by the Australian Local Government Association.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. Are you sure this is correct? It follows the same as any other job in what employers require in an employee
    When there is a shrinkage of employee numbers the ones working are to increase their workload and to cover for the workers who are no longer there so employees then do the work of two or maybe three people.
    That means the public are not less informed if journalists were doing the work they are supposed to be doing. Just because a newsroom shrinks does not mean the work done should shrink. It does not mean less news to the public.
    Some time ago there were great headlines in newspapers that a new journalism model was found and it was called “public journalism” that the public and the institutions of society would do their own journalism and writing and submit articles for publication. It was just like social media and no quality would be lost. Well, this is what employers said. This was a great breakthrough as public journalism did not have to be paid.
    Why is that model not working?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.

You Donne good

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I’d like to thank whoever decided to reprint John Donne’s beautiful poem ‘No Man is an Island’ on the Backlash page. I...

Augmented Reality gives local art exhibition a high-tech twist

A Byron Bay art gallery is seeking to bring paintings to life in its new exhibition, by making Augmented Reality technology part of the experience.