The NSW government has announced a new $3 million fund to assist regional communities to have access to trusted news sources covering the stories that matter.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the NSW Government’s new Regional Media Fund would help strengthen the regional news landscape.
‘We know how important it is for people in rural and regional NSW to have access to the news and information they need, about the issues that affect them,’ Mr Toole said.
‘In rapidly changing times, the NSW government is committed to ensuring that our regionally focused media and news-gathering organisations continue to serve their communities well into the future.
‘That’s why we’re investing $3 million to help these news outlets drive innovation, tell stories in new ways and provide more people in regional NSW with access to the news that matters to them.
‘The new funding will help established mastheads who’ve been the voice of their communities in some cases for more than a hundred years to drive new ideas and encourage newer regional media start-ups to put down roots and grow.’
The General Manager of Echo Publications, the independent publisher of this news site as well as the Byron Shire Echo newspaper, welcomed the announcement of the funding. ‘Access to both factual information and informed opinion are fundamental to a functional democracy, but as readers turn to digital channels for information it has been challenging to fund quality journalism, especially in regional markets,’ said Simon Haslam.
‘Without quality journalism on digital mediums, those people who increasingly get their news from websites and social media often receive misinformation, to the detriment of their local communites.’
President of Country Press NSW Lucie Peart said the announcement of the Regional Media Fund has been welcomed by independent publishers.
‘We have been working with the Deputy Premier and members of the cabinet throughout 2022 to develop a greater understanding of the important role independent publishers play in their communities. We are grateful to the Deputy Premier and the NSW Government for their commitment to establish this dialogue with our organisation,’ Mrs Peart said.
‘While our readerships across the state still greatly value their print edition newspapers, there is a growing demand to access news online.
‘Independent publishers are also keen to explore other digital mediums such as podcasting and social media. The Regional Media Fund will kick-start projects, giving publishers the financial backing to create potential new revenue streams.
‘Country Press NSW looks forward to continuing to work with the government in 2023 on how they can effectively communicate and support regional NSW, and independent publishers.’
The $3 million Regional Media Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund and will provide eligible applicants with funding between $20,000 and $60,000 for each project, up to a maximum of three projects per applicant.
Applications for the Regional Media Fund are now open. All regional media organisations are welcome to apply. For further information, including eligibility criteria, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/RMF.