New campaign to champion grassroots journalism

The Local and Independent News Association (LINA) has launched a pivotal nationwide campaign aimed at growing diverse, community focussed voices in Australia’s embattled media landscape for 33 participating publications including Canungra Times, Beaudesert Bulletin and Tamborine Mountain News.

The campaign Our News. Your Voice calls on Australians to join LINA in actively supporting local and independent news organisations that serve a vital function in any inclusive, thriving community. It comes at a time when the nation’s media industry is confronted by a number of significant funding and resourcing challenges – a storm that LINA is helping local and independent publishers to weather.

Recent statistics from the Public Interest Journalism Initiative revealed that Australian news production has contracted by a figure of 157, which includes both outlet and newsroom closures, between December 2019 and December 2023. This underscores the urgent need for Australians to support grassroots journalism.

Cafe Metz

With approximately 133 new mastheads, stations or websites launched since 2019, there are still promising signs that new players are seeking to enter the market to meet the demand for locally relevant news. However, many of these publishers operate with limited resources — 35 percent have less than two staff members and 16 percent are purely volunteer-run

LINA is leading the development of a nationwide fundraising drive to ensure the survival of local community news. This effort is intended to expand their members’ revenue streams and grow their capacity to deliver public interest journalism for local communities. As part of this year’s efforts, 33 publishers will participate in the campaign, promoting it across their digital channels.

“We’ve just wrapped the 2024 LINA Summit in Port Douglas, where the energy of our members in working to drive change in their communities was incredible to see,” LINA’s Executive Director Claire Stuchbery said.

“These publications are ‘green shoots’ emerging in a difficult transition period for media in Australia. It’s critical that discussions around important events and issues in the public discourse are nuanced with as many different perspectives as possible. Independent and local media outlets produce this type of coverage for their communities. It’s therefore vital that these media organisations are supported to be sustainable and continue to thrive as an essential, functional part of our democratic society.”

The public is invited to make direct donations to the 33 participating publications via https://donate.lina.org.au.