The number of contractions in Australia’s public interest news landscape has grown to over 200 since January 2019, according to newly updated data from the Public Interest Journalism Initiative’s Australian Newsroom Mapping Project.
52 new entries were made today, including 19 masthead closures, four mergers into other newspapers and 29 print editions ended. 60 suspended print editions announced in April were today changed to permanent digital-only editions. This takes total contractions to 213.
Of the 52 new entries, 41 were based in Queensland, making it the hardest hit state among the new data.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for all people working in public interest news as the challenges facing the sector accelerate,” says Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI) Chairman Professor Allan Fels AO.
“Our thoughts are with all newsrooms who’ve made difficult decisions in the past few months, including today’s news of more closures, which are devastating to regional communities.
“Today’s update is further evidence that the industry is in need of urgent immediate and long-term support to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The evolving snapshot of COVID-19’s impact on news can be seen in PIJI’s ongoing Australian Newsroom Mapping Project, which shows closures, edition ends, mergers and more, since January last year, with a disproportionate number in the important local and regional areas.
About The Public Interest Journalism Initiative
The Public Interest Journalism Initiative was established to ensure Australia develops a sustainable ecosystem of independent, pluralistic journalism. We are a non-partisan organisation conducting research, developing policy solutions and building a public conversation on the importance of this issue.
PIJI’s work is guided by its core principles of public interest, neutrality, independence, a diversity of voices and duration.