Local newspapers

Love them or hate them, local newspapers keep regional communities informed.  Elsewhere the bells are tolling for the printed newspapers.  Our research for the City of Greater Geraldton is showing that in regional centres the humble local newspaper remains the only source of news about local government.  If a person doesn’t read the newspapers regularly we found that they are likely to feel out of touch.

As a regional centre the internet revolution isn’t delivering the promises of instant access to individually tailored news.  The reality is that there is almost no local programming from television or radio stations. Even the beloved ABC has reduced their hours of regional reporting. The digital divide means that at least one-quarter of Greater Geraldton residents do not have regular access to the internet and even if they did, local government lacks the significant human resources needed to support social media and an informative and interactive website.

As I shift from thinking about the enthusiastic reporting of my local paper to the papers in other places I have been, I realise just how important newspapers still are for holding us together as a community. Both Ghana and Bangladesh have a print journalism that is of the people and for the people, for all their excesses and idiosyncracies.  The media giants may be wobbling but newspapers at the grass-roots is still powerful.

Categories: Blog

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    ann.larson [at] socialdimensions [dot] com.au peter.howard [at] socialdimensions [dot] com.au

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