Before this year, the lion’s share of journalism redundancies in Australia were in the capital cities. But over the last twelve months regional centres have experienced a serious contraction in journalism jobs. The Ballarat Courier, Bendigo Advertiser, Border Mail and Illawarra Mercury are just some of many daily papers that are being affected by these cuts.
And this week, Fairfax announced that the Newcastle Herald and other Hunter region newspapers would also lose staff. According to a report in The Guardian, the number of journalists at the Newcastle Herald will drop from 61 to just 24. This latest round of job cuts is a heavy blow to regional and rural journalism and threatens the future of quality local news.
What will happen to those journalists who lose their jobs? Are other forms of journalism or media work as likely to be available in regional Australia as in the capital cities? And what are the consequences of reduced staffing levels on the local communities that these newspapers serve?
These questions will be the focus of a new survey to be conducted by the New Beats team in the coming weeks. The survey will be designed to complement the national longitudinal survey that is already being conducted as part of our five-year project.
If you are a journalist whose position has been made redundant from a media outlet outside of the capital cities, we would welcome your participation in this survey. And please feel free to spread the word to anyone else you know who is in a similar situation. All surveys conducted by this project are confidential. We look forward to hearing from you.