Australian Community Media (ACM) has resumed printing dozens of local newspapers after they were suspended earlier this year.
The papers, across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, were halted in April after advertising revenue dried up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Goulburn Post, Southern Highland News, The Area News, Wimmera Mail Times and Port Macquarie News are a list of the titles back in print, with ACM CEO Allen Williams urging advertisers and readers to back the papers.
“We’re certainly grateful for the many supportive messages ACM’s trusted mastheads have received from loyal readers, customers and community leaders who say they have missed the local newspaper,” Williams says.
“Now we need those communities to rally around the local paper and our dedicated journalists and advertising sales staff so these titles can return to sustainably serving regional readers and advertisers.”
Regional media has been hit hard during the pandemic, with many media owners suspending or closing publications as a result of the economic fallout.
News Corp Australia announced in May that it was shifting more than 100 regional and community newspapers online, and closing 14.
To support regional media players, the government revealed a pandemic relief package in April which included a $50 million public interest news gathering program for regional media. Yesterday, ACM was told by the government that it was eligible for funding from the grant.
“I am pleased to say that the amount of the proposed grant to ACM reflects the scale of our commitment to regional media in Australia,” Williams says.
“We will now work through the details of the grant offer and what it means for our business.
“We are grateful to the government and to Minister Fletcher for providing support that recognises the vital role we play in regional communities. We are also grateful to the Judith Neilson Institute for its initiatives to support journalism, including journalism projects to serve ACM’s audiences in regional areas.”
Williams added that the business will continue to review its ability to return other suspended titles subject to advertising recovery.
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