A precondition for good policy is that it should enhance community value by more than it costs. It can be difficult to measure that benefit when so much of it seems intangible, such as journalism’s contribution to strengthening democracy and social life.

One answer is to ask the public what value they place on it. This can be done sensibly, systematically and transparently through ‘willingness to pay’ analysis (also termed ‘contingent valuation’).

With these surveys we sought to understand whether and how the community values public interest journalism. The surveys were conducted by Essential Media for PIJI at six-monthly intervals and analysed by Professor Glenn Withers AO of Australian National University and Applied Economics.

This program of work has finished.

Latest survey: October 2020

The latest survey found that Australians’ use of all kinds of news media grew through 2020; the majority of Australians consider public interest journalism as important or very important; a significant minority want more coverage of local government and community; and public willingness to pay additional tax in support of more public interest journalism remained high.

Click here to read the October 2020 survey.

Past surveys


Professor Glenn Withers AO, Professor of Economics at the Research School of Economics, Australian National University and UNSW Canberra; co-managing director of the consulting firm Applied Economics.

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