ACMA's $5 million for public interest journalism

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 5 August 2020

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced grants under the 2020 Round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund to fund journalists, staff training, new digital technology and website upgrade. 

Forty-one small and regional publishers will share $5 million to help address some of the significant challenges facing the news industry.

“The Innovation Fund has a strong record of helping news publishers improve their sustainability," says ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin. 

The grants include:

The Trustee for Parkes-Brown Family Trust (Glasshouse Country News-Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland) will receive up to $108,200 to develop a new website and digital content publishing platform.

North Central Review Pty Ltd (North Central Review-Mitchell Shire, Victoria) will receive up to $119,410 to engage a digital marketing officer and to upgrade its online sales technology and video production equipment to improve its digital and social media presence.

Word Count Media Pty Ltd (Pittwater Life magazine, Pittwater NSW) will receive up to $42,768 to engage two specialist freelance journalists to increase public interest journalism output and support its local service delivery.

Of the forty-one successful grant recipients, 16 are from New South Wales, 12 are from Victoria, 6 are from Queensland, 2 are from South Australia, 2 are from the ACT, 2 are from Tasmania and one is from Western Australia.

The ACMA received more than 300 applications for the 2020 Round, almost three times the previous round.

In total, the ACMA has awarded more than $17.6 million under the Innovation Fund since 2018.

The government also recently announced that 107 regional publishers and broadcasters will receive a share of $50 million in funding under its Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program.

While applicants could apply for both funds, the ACMA cannot fund the same activities that have been funded under the PING.

The ACMA will now work with all successful 2020 Round recipients to negotiate the funding for eligible activities and finalise grant agreements.

The Innovation Fund and the PING are part of the government’s $60.4 million Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package.


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