Even before COVID-19 struck, local news was struggling, with newspapers moving online or disappearing completely. So is there a role for policy in protecting and supporting the essential role local news plays in our democracy? We’re joined by Caroline Fisher and Carolyn Hendriks to get the headlines and check the small print.

New research has revealed that while rural and regional Australians value local news, about a quarter have no local news at all. Journalists, meanwhile, are being asked to cover expanded geographical areas, and having to apply their skills well beyond writing articles. So what effect is this squeeze on local news having on communities, what are communities doing to tackle it, and is there a role for policy that ensures communities are informed? Joining us to talk about her new research is Associate Professor Caroline Fisher of the University of Canberra, and Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks of Crawford School of Public Policy.

Caroline Fisher is an Associate Professor in journalism at the University of Canberra. She is a member of the News & Media Research Centre and co-author of the annual Digital News Report-Australia.

Carolyn Hendriks is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Governance at The Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

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