The Local & Independent News Association (LINA) welcomes up to $1.5million in funding support for hyperlocal and independent news publishers. Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland made the announcement at the Inaugural LINA conference in Sydney on Friday, receiving applause from a packed room of digital news publishers and supporters.
“Created by locals for locals, your coverage connects people around the issues that interest, and impact, them,” Minister Rowland told LINA Summit delegates. “You promote participation, improve local governance and fill gaps in local news coverage. To this end, I want to acknowledge the important work LINA does to support and boost independent news.”
Since opening its doors in September 2022, LINA has welcomed more than 50 digital news publishers to the industry association, representing more than 80 mastheads in all States and Territories. Its membership continues to grow as new digital news outlets populate local news deserts across the country.
“LINA members represent the green shoots of journalism in Australia,” says LINA’s Executive Director, Claire Stuchbery. “Our role is to help strengthen public interest journalism, provide capacity building support to small news businesses and generate economies of scale for independent news organisations who have been working largely in isolation to provide relevant news services for their communities. The funding announced provides essential support to undertake this work and we thank the Government for its commitment to strengthening media diversity through LINA.”
The inaugural LINA Summit was the first opportunity for LINA’s members to meet in person, joined by stakeholders, policy makers and other media industry partners. Eighty-five delegates representing 54 organisations attended.
The program included sessions on revenue development, training opportunities, and editorial standards. Reflecting on the role of government in a changing media landscape, Minister Rowland outlined the Albanese Government’s commitment to developing a News Media Assistance Program (News MAP) and a News Media Measurement Framework, among a suite of support measures to deliver news services to remote and regional audiences, including a Journalist Fund supporting 56 cadets in regional newsrooms.
“The opportunity to support the work of LINA is consistent with the Government’s pledge to support local news, community media and jobs and will inform work to develop a principles-based, evidence-informed and sustainable framework to support public interest journalism and media diversity in Australia,” said Minister Rowland.
The funding announcement represents a major step forward in supporting public interest journalism that serves communities at a local level, at a time when other news outlets are shrinking or closing down completely.
“Increasingly we’re seeing audiences demonstrate preferences for digital news delivery and a weakening of news business models on a global scale,” said Claire Stuchbery. “This funding will help LINA strengthen the sustainability of digital news publishers to deliver news services to the 67% of Australians who want more local news and news services they can trust. The conversations at the inaugural LINA Summit last week were energising and overwhelmingly positive and I’m looking forward to working closely with LINA’s members to grow local journalism in the year ahead.”