December 2, 2022


healthy part of faith

Naracoorte Community News thrives despite challenges facing rural newspapers in pandemic

5 min read

Superior news has been thin on the floor for the rural media landscape because the COVID-19 pandemic started two a long time back.

But in the small rural town of Naracoorte, in South Australia’s south east, 1 unlikely tale is producing headlines for the ideal causes.

Naracoorte Community Information — the unbiased paper that launched its 1st issue at the peak of pandemic in 2020 — has notched up 1.2 million words of area news and tales.

And it’s about to go through a switching of the guard, with the hunt on for a new running editor.

Man smiling sitting on a chair
Michael Waite hopes the Naracoorte newspaper can be sustainable for the group.(Provided: Michael Waite)

“We are looking for a new chief we’ve acquired a search likely appropriate now and it is really attracted a very intriguing team of candidates from appropriate all over Australia,” the paper’s founder, Michael Waite, explained.

The productive applicant will lead the paper into its following chapter, continuing a journey that has bucked the trend for regional newspapers.

Amid the pandemic-induced turbulence encompassing regional papers, the Naracoorte Neighborhood News has produced 100 weekly issues and even donated additional than $60,000 to neighborhood company, arts and sporting activities teams.

“That’s what we connect with our community dividend it really is what we started out off hoping we could do,” Mr Waite said

“It can be been an wonderful journey.

“I did not really understand what was doable when we begun but the impact we see, come to feel, listen to and the way the local community embraces us, issues us and then provides us forward is past a aspiration … and this kind of an honour.”

Fighting against the odds

But whilst Naracoorte Community Information proceeds to prosper, other media providers battle to survive.

In April 2020, when a the moment-in-a-century global pandemic hit Australia, Australian Local community Media — an employer of 600 journalists — temporarily suspended the printing of a number of its non-each day publications and stood down some workers.

It is a go it suggests it was pressured to make.

“We did not determine to abandon communities. We determined to save our small business,” ACM running director Tony Kendall stated in a submission to the federal parliamentary inquiry into regional newspapers.

Man sitting at a computer
The Naracoorte Group News staff are passionate about the newspaper.(Supplied: Michael White)

“This would have resulted in extra than 1,300 men and women in regional Australia losing their employment, which include 600 journalists.

“It would have produced ‘news deserts’ across the country. It would have silenced the voice of regional Australia.”

In the exact same patch as the Naracoorte Local community Information, ACM publishes the Naracoorte Herald and Border Chronicle. At the time of publication of this write-up, both of those papers were being devoid of journalists.