THE Victorian government has announced emergency support to help regional print media survive and ensure all Victorians have the information they need to protect themselves, slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
Many regional papers were already struggling as a result of the effects of drought and bushfires on local businesses and advertising.
The added and significant impact of coronavirus on the economy has forced some regional mastheads to shut their doors, while others are on the brink.
To help these local papers survive, the government will book one page of print advertising and digital advertising in more than 100 regional outlets each week for six months.
The immediate and reliable source of income will help these businesses – which are the public record of towns and regions throughout Victoria – get through the worst of the crisis and rebuild.
The $4.7 million package has been developed in consultation with the Victorian Country Press Association.
The advertising boost will also help the government get the message out to Victorians that everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of the virus by staying home, protecting the health system and saving lives.
The announcement of this state government support for locally produced and independent public interest journalism has been welcomed by Gippsland Times manager Bruce Ellen.
“I congratulate the Andrew’s government on this important initiative,” he said.
“Not only does it keep our local community informed in a time of great uncertainty and need for trusted news, it contributes to sustaining the Gippsland Times to continue to provide our community with their primary source of local news,”
Premier Daniel Andrews said the government was giving regional papers the certainty and support they needed to keep writing, keep printing and keep employing Victorians.
“We need to get the message out to every corner of the state – stay home, protect the health system and save lives.
“This investment will help us do that.
“Coronavirus does not discriminate – so it’s vital every Victorian knows what to do to protect themselves and their loved ones, wherever they live.”