Journalists, papers 'extremely important' to local communities: Patrick

Journalists, papers 'extremely important' to local communities: Patrick

South Australian Senator Rex Patrick said he was fully supportive of regional journalists when asked about the Australian Community Newspapers' (ACM) campaign for government assistance in the face of rising newsprint costs.

This paper is part of the ACM network.

Mr Patrick described journalists as "extremely important" to the communities they work in.

"It is a way in which people connect, it is the way in which information is shared around and we cannot just rely on journalists in the big cities to provide news - that does not help local communities," he said.

"We have to give whatever support is necessary to make sure that our our regional newspapers survive."

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The cost of the paper that newspapers are printed on is about to skyrocket, threatening the very existence of local papers.

ACM - Australia's largest publisher of regional news and the owner of this masthead - has put the crisis facing regional newspapers on front pages all around the country under the headline "Your paper in peril".

ACM was recently notified that the only Australian supplier of the newsprint used for regional newspapers will soon increase prices by as much as 80 per cent.

For ACM's 140 newspapers and the 190 smaller independent papers represented by Country Press Australia, the impact could be catastrophic - threatening regional news coverage and journalism jobs.

"Regional communities around Australia will be horrified and angered by the prospect of losing local jobs and local newspapers," ACM executive chairman Antony Catalano and CPA president Andrew Manuel have told key Liberal, Labor and Nationals leaders in a joint letter.

Rex Patrick

Rex Patrick

Together, ACM and CPA are calling for bipartisan support for emergency financial assistance to help save regional newspaper publishing.

"Our readers are passionate about their local newspapers and we expect that they will react strongly to closures, frequency changes or huge cover price increases," Mr Catalano and Mr Manuel write.

When ACM told a federal parliamentary inquiry in February that a looming increase in the price of newsprint would threaten the viability of its newspapers, the price rise was expected to be in the order of 30 per cent.

But when new newsprint prices from July 1 were recently confirmed by the supplier, the cost had skyrocketed by as much as 80 per cent.

This story Journalists, papers 'extremely important' to local communities: Patrick first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.