The Australian Newsroom Mapping Project

The Australian Newsroom Mapping Project (ANMP) is the first comprehensive, visual and searchable index of news production availability – television, radio, print, and digital publishing – across Australia. It is an ongoing project, adding data in stages to build a detailed picture of the health public interest journalism across the country.

This project helps to identify communities lacking fair and equal access to public interest journalism, local news, and the news infrastructure that keeps them safe during emergencies.  ANMP data is publicly available for the community, industry and government to engage with and to form an evidence base for media policy and reform.

Upcoming Australian Newsroom Mapping Project Stages

The Australian Newsroom Mapping Project (ANMP) is a multi-stage project, with new releases scheduled throughout 2022

The ANMP project:

  • identifies key issues and trends, particularly around any declines in the diversity and plurality of public interest journalism
  • identifies communities in need, such as those in regional and remote areas which have been disproportionately affected by news reductions
  • checks there is sufficient news infrastructure to keep communities safe during emergencies such as bushfires, floods, and pandemics
  • provides communities with a voice to demonstrate and shape their local news’ needs
  • helps market entrants and new business models to identify and fill market gaps;
  • determines policy design and effectiveness in delivering public returns
  • provide transparency and accountability surrounding government intervention – direct or indirect – through reporting public benefit ie.:
    • supporting a diversity of media players – large and small, retail and wholesale,
      metro and regional; and,
    •  ties directly to quality news production and availability, and
  • assist broader discussions around acceptable minimum levels of news coverage

The current and future stages of the ANMP are outlined below.

Tracking Changes in News Production– Released April 2020

This project continually tracks changes to news production and availability, including the opening and closing of news outlets and newsrooms; changes to service levels, mergers and the digitisation of print publications.

This project has been actively maintained since 1 January 2019.

Findings are published in monthly reports and data snapshots. It is a particularly useful resource for observing changes to the media landscape due to COVID-19.

Local News Producers – Released December 2021

This is a database of print and digital local news producers: those that report on council, courts, schools, and community events. They maintain accountability of public institutions, give communities a voice, and speak to their specific concerns.

Despite their importance, local news producers are also arguably the least visible and most vulnerable sector of the news market in Australia. This project aims to identify local news producers around the country and contribute to policy design to support that sector. The data is actively maintained.

Preliminary data was released for industry and community feedback in December 2021 and released to the public in February 2022.

The Australian News Index – Released May 2022

This Australian News Index extends on the local news database to include state/territory, national, and non-geographic news producers.

Records can be searched, filtered and downloaded from the database.

Broadcast News Producers – Scheduled for August 2022

This analysis of news producer data involves reviewing the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s public data on radio and television broadcast license holders, identifying the news producers among them and conducting a geo-spatial analysis to translate broadcast license areas into local government areas.

This data will be added into the Australian News Index and released monthly, with a visualisation to be added.

Health Check on Local News – Scheduled for September 2022

This pilot project provides a spotlight on eight communities, analysing three key measures of public interest journalism: the levels of court, of local government and of local community reporting.

It has been designed as a pilot to examine and contrast the volume and frequency of locally relevant news content in a cross-section of different communities. The test group will comprise eight communities (three rural, three regional and two metro). The project will also create benchmarks on which to assess media diversity and plurality at an individual community level.

Results will be overlaid with PIJI’s other mapping research.

News Media Businesses – Scheduled for late 2022

This stage will provide more detail of news media ownership and will connect PIJI’s existing database to the public APIs of the Australian Business Register, Australian Securities and Investment Commission and Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to enable automatic updates to business records within the data.

Jobs Data and Mapping – Scheduled for late 2022

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has forecast its release of updated Occupation data from the 2021 census for October 2022. This project stage will map journalist jobs geographically against local government areas, using the existing data as a template.

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The onset of COVID-19 and other upheavals in the Australian news media landscape have unveiled the rapidly diminishing production of public interest journalism in Australia, particularly in coverage of our councils, parliaments, and courts. PIJI’s research show’s regional and rural communities have been most adversely affected, with emerging local news gaps in print and online at the forefront of concern.

PIJI’s comprehensive research has become a leading point of reference for examining the state of public interest journalism production and availability in Australia. This means we now have a unique opportunity for systemic industry reform, using our Australia-first data to guide short and long-term policy ideas into action.

Public interest journalism in Australia plays a critical role in our democracy. PIJI’s research is uncovering indicators of a lack of media plurality and diversity across Australia. This research has the power to help communities and decision makers create effective media policies and interventions that improve the quality and provision of public interest journalism in Australia.

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