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GroupM’s ‘Back to News’ initiative vets Aussie news publishers to help brands invest in ‘responsible journalism’

GroupM Australia has launched an initiative to vet Australian news publishers and help brands decide on where to invest their media budgets.

Called ‘Back to News’, the initiative is part of the company’s partnership with non-profit Internews aimed to support responsible journalism and to provide brands with access to ad environments on vetted news publications.

GroupM AUNZ chief executive Aimee Buchanan and The Australian journalist Hedley Thomas

GroupM and Internews have together vetted some 200 local metro and regional news sites, ranging from the Cairns Post in the north of Australia, down to the Hobart Mercury and as far west to the Pilbara News to cover every state and territory.

“Supporting Responsible Journalism is a key pillar of our Responsible Investment Framework and one of the ways we are making advertising better for people – and communities. It’s critical that we support a balanced local ecosystem, where Australians have access to credible, fact-based and vetted news sources to minimise harmful disinformation circulating,” GroupM AUNZ chief executive Aimee Buchanan said.

“Advertising plays a key role in supporting credible journalism by funding high quality news environments and in turn these environments are good for advertisers, providing access to brand-safe, high quality content environments. Through our partnership with Internews, we hope to see more Australian advertisers investing media dollars back to news.”

Back to News is underpinned by Internews’ own Ads for News initiative, which helps brands and agencies reach engaged news audiences on some 12,000 trusted local news websites across more than 50 countries.

Internews director of Ads for News Chris Hajecki said: “Responsible journalism is an essential part of society, and the business of brands. In Australia, the work of GroupM and Ads for News has created a diverse inclusion list of trusted news websites, reaching audiences in communities across the country.”

“Now, it is up to progressive brands to take the lead by more sustainably investing media budgets in responsible journalism— ensuring their customers have access to fact-based news to make informed decisions about their lives.”

GroupM launched the initiative with events in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, partnering with journalists including Guardian Australia editor in chief Lenore Taylor, Nine managing director for publishing James Chessell and The Australian national chief correspondent Hedley Thomas.

Commenting on the launch, Chessell said: “Advertisers continue to play a critical role funding a wide range of credible news platforms essential to readers getting trusted information about what’s going on in their world. Back to News is a fantastic initiative that delivers safe and effective environments for advertisers while helping maintain strong public interest journalism in Australia and ensuring Australians have access to news they can trust.”

Guardian Media Group chief executive Anna Bateson said: “Guardian journalism has spurred government enquiries, called out systemic injustices, exposed corporate wrongdoings and given a voice to the marginalised. Our unwavering mission is to deliver independent, fearless journalism.”

“Alongside that, we provide an effective environment for advertisers to reach engaged audiences. GroupM’s Back to News initiative supports both journalists and advertisers and strengthens the publishing ecosystem in Australia.”

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