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News sector experiences third largest trough since COVID-19

October 11, 2022

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Australia’s news sector has experienced the third largest market contraction within a single quarter since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest findings from the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI).

PIJI’s latest Australian News Data Report shows that the sector’s volatility has extended well beyond the first closure of non-essential businesses in March 2020, and that the news industry remains vulnerable to external shocks.

The report finds that in the wake of the recent ‘print cost crisis’, driven by global supply chain disruptions, at least 11 news mastheads across the country explicitly or implicitly closed due to price increases.

Many of these closed outlets were regional and remote, which is where PIJI data indicates the impact of the media markets’ volatility is often hardest and most immediately felt.

Initial results from PIJI’s Australian News Sampling Project also indicate that the provision of public interest journalism and the relative localism of news reporting can vary greatly from region to region.

PIJI CEO Anna Draffin has emphasised that in addition to the volume of news, other factors such as delivery format, scale, levels of diversity, content quality and geographical relevance are all extremely important indicators of the health of news.

“For policy reform to be effective, it’s vital to understand all these different factors and their interplay. The ANDR has been built to fill these critical data-gaps and to measure data on multiple fronts.”

“Over three years of data collection, our data has drawn a clear picture of ongoing market instability, that can impact news supply and its plurality and diversity.”

Released today, PIJI’s ANDR report has been recently renamed to better explain its broad capture of data and applied use, which have expanded substantially since PIJI’s first dynamic project – the Australian Newsroom Mapping Project – launched in 2020.

The September issue of the Australian News Data Report can be found on our website.

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