Are there news gaps in rural/regional Australia?: Researching media plurality beyond Finkelstein

Kristy Hess, Lisa Waller, Matthew RICKETSON

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Rural/regional news is emerging as a vital area of media policy and research throughout the world as industry bodies, governments and academics grapple with debates concerning the future of news in a complex digital world. However, there has been little examination of media plurality at the rural/regional level, or research into the sustain-ability of the sector in Australia. Such concerns go to questions of what roles industry and government might play in ensuring its future. The Finkelstein report in 2012 noted that many rural/regional newspapers in Australia had limited resources and consequently low capacity for in-depth coverage of local issues. In the meantime, the funding model of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (which services rural/re-gional areas as part of its charter) has come under intense scrutiny by the federal Liberal-National Party coalition government. Signs from abroad – especially from the United Kingdom – are troubling. Several independent inquiries have called for policy initiatives to address what British scholars describe as the growing “democratic deficit” created by the closure of hundreds of local UK newspapers since 2004. This paper canvasses current and emerging media policy settings in the UK, the United States and Australia before posing some broader questions on the future of rural/regional news in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-170
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Journalism Review
    Volume36
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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