> About our research

Taking Australia's
country press
into the future

Local news innovation

The future of local news is making headlines across the globe. The rise of COVID-19 has exacerbated some of the challenges facing the local sector – especially traditional print newspapers – at a time when reliable, credible information sources are essential for local communities. This project brings together several of the nation’s leading local media and journalism studies experts as part of an Australian Research Council Project, involving researchers and industry leaders from Deakin University, RMIT and Country Press Australia. This study aims to move beyond merely documenting the challenges facing local news to seek innovative solutions to secure the sustainability of the country press in a digital world.

Four aims will drive our research:


Provide an evidenced-based assessment of the civic value of Australia’s country press. 


Investigate understandings of sustainability and innovation in the news-media sector.


Develop a model of innovation that supports the sustainability of our country press.


Refine and extend a methodological framework for researching local news in digital spaces.

Four key projects will underpin these aims: 

> Project 1

A comprehensive national and international assessment of government policy, reports and industry documentation on the sustainability and innovation of Australia's regional news sector.

> Project 2

Two of the largest national surveys to fully investigate the dominant factors leading to social and cultural innovation of Australia's regional news sector. 

> Project 3

Targeted and expert input to solve innovation challenges through workshops and interviews with rural news proprietors, editors and journalists in Australia and internationally.

> Project 4

Our PhD scholar will conduct a comprehensive assessment of country newspapers, charting the factors underlying their varied and mixed fortunes.  


"It is a newspaper’s moral responsibility to ensure it provides its community with objective, factual and ethical reporting. Its content is unique to its readers. A newspaper is the cement that binds a community. It provides cohesion in a changing world. 

Wanda Dunnet, manager,

North Western Courier, New South Wales

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> Contact us


Email queries to the project's research fellow, Angela Blakston, 
at: a.blakston@deakin.edu.au

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> Design by Kate Oliver, The Third Antelope Graphic Design, email: 3antelope@ihug.com.au