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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

ACM receives its response from Labor - and it won't be enough

If you read the Bay Post, Narooma News or any of the Australian Community Media regional papers you will see print heavy calls of desperation across their front pages declaring dark days ahead for local papers and local papers in peril. But fear not - it appears that the dark days ahead are only for ACM as they cry poor once more declaring they need the State Government to commit more advertising to them by way of a full page advertisement per week. Not content with this they also want the government to turn around a 2020 decision that allowed Councils to suspend publishing the latest approved Council Development applications. Their plaintive pleas have achieved little other than to have the current government remind them of the current NSW Government policies around advertising. The NSW Government says for advertising campaigns of relevance to regional and remote communities, that NSW Government agencies are required to spend at least 26% of their campaign media expenditure on channels targeting regional audiences. This should include expenditure in independent and local print media. Adding to the current requirements NSW Labor have stated in their policy paper issued today that they will enact a $9 million plan to safeguard regional and community media across New South Wales saying the Labor policy "acknowledges the essential role regional media plays in our rural communities, as a trusted voice, who provide on-the-ground public interest journalism across our state". The announcement should make the dooms-dayers at ACM a little happier given that, if elected in March 2023, a Minns Labor Government’s will commit an additional $3 million in government advertising for regional print media. That should come to around $20,000 for each publisher. Most likely not the windfall ACM were looking for. Note the words "print media". This means that ACM doesn't get the whole amount and it is to be shared across the state to all print media including the many independents who also print. Spending more on regional print advertising has been a key ask of media advocates across New South Wales, with Country Press NSW reporting that despite holding a significant share of voice the sector only receives half of 1 percent of the overall regional NSW advertising budget. Lucie Peart, President of Country Press NSW said: "Recent media commentary suggests that newspapers are 'in peril' however, it is the opposite experience of independently run newspapers in the state. Our member papers are strong and resilient publications, well supported by their communities. Many have, during the COVID years, expanded their businesses, offered more to their readers, and have created digital presences.


"That being said, currently, the state's regional independent newspapers are receiving less than one per cent of the advertising budget, despite there being a 26 per cent allocation for all regional advertising.


"This is also despite many publishers being the only source of locally produced news in their communities. We would like to work with the next term of government to further deliver a more sustainable outcome for publishers through a proper advertising program for local newspapers.


"This in turn, would represent a better outcome for regional NSW residents, who are currently being overlooked for important information and locally held events, that the government should be conveying through local newspapers.


"Country Press NSW looks forward to continuing our positive engagement with NSW Labor on this issue, and we thank them for their commitment to change." "We are grateful that Mr Minns, and his team, are engaging in an ongoing dialogue with independent news publishers in NSW. We also welcome the commitment of the current Regional Media Fund and Labor's plan to extend that fund for a second year." Labor’s commitment will allow our regional and community outlets to forward plan and safeguard the those who provide print. As for publications like The Beagle, that is non-print, all that can be done is to register for digital advertising from NSW State agencies and hope that some of their advertising budget (and content) finds its way to the South East.


Mick Veitch, the Shadow Minister for Regional NSW said:


“This is an important announcement from a Party who understand the importance of independent media in our regional communities.


“While the government tout having a regional advertising fund, the fact is our local papers are not getting their fair share. This policy will ensure they do".

Recent media commentary by ACM (publishers of the Bay Post, Narooma News and many more ACM mastheads across NSW, suggests that newspapers are 'in peril' however "it is the opposite experience of independently run newspapers in the state," says Lucie Peart, President of Country Press NSW "Our member papers are strong and resilient publications, well supported by their communities. Many have, during the COVID years, expanded their businesses, offered more to their readers, and have created digital presences," Ms Peart said.







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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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