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Catalano of ACM commits to regional news

In the latest Voice of Real Australia Newsletter James Joyce, the Executive editor of Australian Community Media informs readers of an address made by new co-owner Antony Catalano who told those watching a webcast that "a newly independent and privately owned Australian Community Media was "a hugely important asset in the Australian media landscape"

Above: Antony Catalano - Photo via Twitter

Reassuring news for the many regional newspaper editors and journalists was his statement "My aim is to make us the biggest and best regional group in the country and that means we have to expand not shrink," Mr Catalano said.

"I prefer to grow businesses and we're in the business of journalism. If we produce really good quality journalism then you are doing a good thing by the business."

Mr Catalano told those watching the live video hook-up that the business had an exciting future ahead as a standalone company.

In the newsletter Mr Joyce revealed that Mr Catalano said "It's got a role that The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald or Channel Nine will never fulfill in Albury-Wodonga and Warrnambool and all of the far reaches of this company."

"No one is going to cover those areas like we do, so we've got to be relevant, we've got to be best and we've got to achieve those targets so we can continue to be in an even richer world of journalism, and a richer business of journalism. And I think we can do it."

Mr Catalano also said during the live video hook-up that one of the "obvious opportunities" that made the ACM business attractive was growing regional Australia's share of advertising spending from national advertisers.

"Thirty-four per cent of the Australian population live outside of the metro [cities] and as an industry we only get 10 per cent of the advertising pie. I will get out there, roll my sleeves up and do some deals and try to get us some revenue."

"The better your advertising revenue and the more money you make out of that the more you can support journalism."

The newsletter offered an insight into the pay-wall model that has been widely adopted by ACM with Mr Joyce offering "on the subject of subscriptions for online access to news, which more than 40 ACM mastheads including The Canberra Times have introduced at their websites over the past year, Mr Catalano said good content was worth paying for and it appeared the ACM subscription strategy was "working and working well. I do subscribe to papers and I do pay for papers that I want to read," he said. But if you want to have paywalls you want to make sure that I want to pay for it because of the journalism."

Mr Catalano's commitment augers well for our South East ACM mastheads that will hopefully see them given more resources to enable them to flourish and continue in their role with a focus on local news and events.

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