Much-loved Hinterland newspaper the Glasshouse Country and Maleny News (GC&M News) will be able to deliver an improved online news experience for local residents alongside their on-going print edition following a grant of $108,200 from the Morrison Government. The funding is part of this year’s $5 million round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that the funding will help Glasshouse Country and Maleny News adapt to the unprecedented challenges in the current media environment, particularly in the face of COVID-19.
“Lea, Greg and their team at the GC&M News have done a fantastic job during this pandemic and have kept the news flowing to Hinterland residents during an incredibly difficult time. Thanks to their hard work and the community’s terrific response, our region was only without this much-loved paper for a matter of weeks before it started hitting newsstands once again.” Mr Wallace said.
“This $108,200 grant will help the paper to take the next step forward with an enhanced online presence to complement their on-going print edition and ensure that Hinterland residents can get up to date local news in whichever format they prefer.” he said.
The funding will be used to develop and implement a new website portal and digital content publishing platform to help keep the newspaper sustainable and continuing to bring news to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Managing Editor, GC&M News Lea Parkes said “Greg Brown and I have run our community newspaper based at Glass House Mountains for more than 15 years and during that time our industry has undergone dramatic changes. While we have slowly incorporated on-line news and social media into our operations over the last decade we are keen to be able to embrace other digital opportunities that will benefit both our readers and our advertisers.”
“We will be using the funds to assist us in expanding our digital news delivery capacity which we see as complementary and supportive of our regular print publication and not replacing what people love about newspapers.”
“This approach will give us the capacity to provide breaking news in a more timely manner while still allowing us to have our print edition to flesh out stories, that incorporates comments and responses to reflect how our broader community feels and being a genuine community voice to issues.” Lea said.
Over 300 applications were assessed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), working closely with an independent advisory committee, through a competitive grants process. The ACMA will work with successful applicants to develop and enter into grant agreements as soon as practicable. The full list of recipients is available on the ACMA’s website at: https://www.acma.gov.au/regional-and-small-publishers-innovation-fund.
In addition to the $5 million Innovation Fund grants, the Government is providing $50 million to 107 regional broadcasters and publishers through the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program.