The state’s country newspaper industry association, Country Press NSW has met NSW government representatives to address the challenge caused by diminished government press advertising, which is adversely affecting the regional independent newspaper industry.

The industry has repeatedly pointed to the continuing use of government handouts and press releases as ‘unpaid’ advertising – the expectation is that the government departments’ material will be published but minimal paid advertising is forthcoming.

A delegation of Country Press NSW executives met the Deputy Premier Paul Toole and government ministers in Sydney last week to discuss the issue.

Country Press NSW, which represents the largest group of independent NSW newspapers, is looking to ensure the future viability of the industry after years of COVID-19 related turmoil.
CP NSW president Lucie Peart said the meetings with the NSW government were constructive and very positive.

“The talks were frank and honest, we were able to discuss our concerns with different levels of the NSW government and there is a mutual commitment there to work on building a relationship,” Mrs Peart said.

She said while businesses have continued to support their local independent newspapers during the recent difficult trading years, and readers have stayed loyal, the role of government advertising was vital.

“But this issue is not just about regular government advertising dropping off,” Mrs Peart stressed.

“We believe that some government departments are not getting their information through to local areas in the country, so people are not being adequately informed.”

Member of the Legislative Council Scott Barrett told the Upper House the support of country newspapers was vital.

“As a trusted voice in regional NSW, local newspapers remain a valued communication channel and source of connectedness in our local communities.

“Despite what we hear about social media or search engines taking the place of our traditional print media, in regional NSW the local paper is still critical to our local communities.

“I do not think there would be many families who did not have a clipping in a drawer somewhere of one of their kids or some other family member in the junior sport reports, the social pages or sharing a story about a local event.

“Our local papers are vital to communicating events, telling local stories and keeping locals informed of what is going on in their town. The effort that goes into those publications is amazing. It is a testament to not only the quality of the people living in our small regional communities but also how important those publications are to those communities.

“It is important that we are aware of the amazing work they are doing, and how critical it is.

“As our papers look after our regional communities, we need to look after them by using the advertising and information services that they offer—because it is still an extremely effective way of communicating with the people of regional NSW.”

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