Government reveals recipients of Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund

The Federal Government has revealed which publishers and publications will be the beneficiaries of its $5m Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.

In 2020, there were more than 300 applications to access the fund, with 41 succeeding.

Of these, 16 are from New South Wales, 12 from Victoria and six from Queensland. South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT all had two successful applicants, while Western Australia had one.

One successful applicant was Solstice Media’s In Daily and In Queensland. The funding will be used to expand the production of public interest content and revenue by redeveloping its website and engaging journalists to do breaking news and investigative journalism.

The grants were expedited to assist publishers in dealing with COVID-19

In addition, The Trustee for Parkes-Brown Family Trust, publisher of Glasshouse Country News in Queensland will receive up to $108,200 to develop a new website and digital content publishing platform, and the North Central Review in Victoria will benefit from up to $119,410 to engage a digital marketing officer to upgrade its online sales technology and video production equipment.

Newstate Media’s Newcastle Weekly in NSW will receive up to $132,711 to expand its news coverage, employ new staff and conduct sales training, while GJ Adams Trust, publisher of The Shepparton Adviser in Victoria, is up for $238,086 to increase its reach and production by developing a new website and employing new staff.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin noted that two-thirds of the funding went to regional applicants.

“The Innovation Fund has a strong record of helping news publishers improve their sustainability. This new round of funding will support projects that will improve each grantee’s capacity to generate public interest journalism including funding for journalists, staff training, new digital technology and website upgrades,” she said.

ACMA said it had awarded over $17.6m under the fund since 2018.

Minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts, Paul Fletcher, said this round of funding was expedited to help small and regional publishers in the face of COVID-19.

“While the media industry has been going through a significant and sustained transition period, COVID-19 has put the delivery of quality journalism under further pressure,” Fletcher said.

“The grants will help successful recipients continue to generate public interest journalism through investment digital initiatives, technical upgrades and staff training, as well as supporting salaries.”

Both the Innovation Fund and the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program are part of the Government’s $60.4m Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package. Publishers could apply for both, however, ACMA cannot fund the same activities that have already been funded by PING.

The full list of recipients is below.


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