The plight of regional free press


I read the article regarding financial support for regional newspapers in last week’s Independent (CVI 5/8/20).  I have always been amazed there are still free local papers. 

I disagree with the suggestion that government bodies – Federal, State or Local – should have to foot the bill.  They have plenty of other bigger projects to spend our taxes on.

If the public really want their regional papers to continue, which I do, maybe we could pay for them. I would be willing to do this – always have been.

I have a few suggestions to raise funds. Remember, these are only ideas / suggestions and I know there would be issues with each, which would require much thought, and processes put in place if implemented.

  1. Could the Councils add a specifically identified small levy e.g. $3.00 to everyone’s rates notice each quarter?  This could go directly to the current free regional newspapers in each area.
  2. People pay for the newspapers?  This is a difficult suggestion, I know.
  • There are a huge number of people who may not be able to pay even $1.00 for a paper – pensioners, unemployed (especially in these COVID times), people on welfare etc.
  • The local newspapers assist disenfranchised  people to access some local news and information, so the papers are very important to them, as well as the general community.
  • This would also require some infrastructure and therefore more cost e.g. newspaper stands, where one inserts a coin and the cabinet the papers are in unlocks to allow people to take a paper.

I don’t know if any of this is feasible, but we need our regional newspapers and I think the community need to support their local newspapers.

Annabelle Fitzgerald, Yamba


Editors note: The most effective way for regional media to survive is advertising. Advertising streams have continued to dry up thanks to the large online presence of the like of Google & Facebook. There is not much we can do about them but the other major problem is governments who cry foul about the demise of regional media but choose not to place their advertising within our pages.