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2020 Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund recipients announced

The successful grant recipients of the 2020 round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund have been announced.

Of the 300 applications that were received for the 2020 Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund, 41 small and regional publishers were successful and will share in the $5 million available to help them address some of the significant challenges facing the media industry.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that two-thirds of the available funding has been awarded to regional applicants.

“The Innovation Fund has a strong record of helping news publishers improve their sustainability. This new round of funding will support projects that will improve each grantee’s capacity to generate public interest journalism including funding for journalists, staff training, new digital technology, and website upgrades,” O’Loughlin said.

Successful recipients include:

  • Word Count Media Pty Ltd (Pittwater Life magazine) will receive up to $42,768 to engage two specialist freelance journalists to increase public interest journalism output and support its local service delivery.
  • RenewEconomy Pty Ltd (RenewEconomy, One Step off the Grid, The Driven) will receive an undisclosed amount to upgrade existing digital capabilities, purchase hardware and software, and engage a digital consultant.
  • The Royal Institution of Australia Inc. (Cosmos Magazine, Cosmos online) will receive an undisclosed amount to increase audience and sustainable revenue through market research, digital strategy, and resourcing journalists. 
  • Propeller Media (The Hobart Magazine) will receive an undisclosed amount to generate public interest journalism by employing an additional journalist and purchase new IT equipment and software. 
  • Inside Story Publishing Pty Ltd (Inside Story) will receive an undisclosed amount to expand its audience and open a new revenue stream by producing a monthly magazine in partnership with the local newspaper, to be inserted into the paper. 
  • The Chung Wah Association (Chung Wah Magazine) will receive an undisclosed amount to engage new staff, establish partnerships with other community media, increase usage of social media platforms, and provide training opportunities for journalism and graphic design students. 

The full list of recipients can be found on the ACMA website

Of the 41 successful grant recipients, 16 are from New South Wales, 12 are from Victoria, six are from Queensland, two are from South Australia, two are from the ACT, two are from Tasmania and one is from Western Australia.

The ACMA received more than 300 applications for the 2020 Round, almost three times the previous round.

The ACMA said that it carefully assessed each application against eligibility and merit criteria, and was assisted by an independent advisory committee appointed by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.

In total, the ACMA has awarded more than $17.6 million under the Innovation Fund since 2018. 

The government also recently announced that 107 regional publishers and broadcasters will receive a share of $50 million in funding under its Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program.

While applicants could apply for both funds, the ACMA cannot fund the same activities that have been funded under the PING. 

The ACMA will now work with all successful 2020 Round recipients to negotiate the funding for eligible activities and finalise grant agreements.

The Innovation Fund and the PING are part of the government’s $60.4 million Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package.

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