29 Feb 2016

Changes to the media are fraught with danger for the regions.The ABC will be their only voice.

Taken from an article in The Conversation
Australia already has extremely concentrated news media ownership. This is most vividly exemplified by News Corp’s control of about 70% of daily newspaper circulation. This, incidentally, was the most spectacular consequence of the last 1987 shake-up.

Policy challenges

Achieving a diversity of news media voices remains a difficult policy challenge.
Theoretically, digital technology enables everyone with a computer, access to the internet and the skills of basic literacy to become a publisher. A few new players have emerged as a result, most notably Crikey and The Guardian Australia, but the overwhelming majority of people who get their news online get it from the long-established media organisations – the ABC, News Corp and Fairfax.
The reason is that even with the heavy cuts to journalists’ jobs, these organisations still have more resources, more access to newsmakers, a bigger news-making capability and stronger reputations than most start-ups.
If the mooted rule changes go through, the mergers already foreshadowed by the media industry will mean less diversity – not more.
A further unresolved policy challenge concerns the provision of local news services in regional and rural Australia.
Regional news services have been cut or centralised in locations far from the communities they are meant to be serving. For example, the WIN regional television network has centralised its Victorian news operation in Wollongong, which is about as far from Mildura as Paris is from Berlin.

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