More than 90 newspapers across regional Australia will share in over $10 million of grants, as part of the Coalition government's Public Interest News Gathering Fund.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack announced Australian Community Media - publisher of this masthead - would receive $10.4 million of the $50 million fund, which is designed to help newsrooms continue to tell the stories of their communities despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr McCormack - who was once the editor of the Daily Advertiser, which now sits in the ACM stable - said he was acutely aware of the pressures faced by regional media.
The grant to Australian Community Media was the largest awarded in the publishing stream, he said.
"Local news matters because local stories matter and as a former regional newspaper editor, I know the importance of Australian Community Media's network of outlets - that's why we are backing 91 of them with a more than $10 million investment," Mr McCormack said.
"This brings stability for local journalists, ensuring they can continue their important work with the certainty that their organisation's bottom line has been bolstered by the federal government. Today's announcement demonstrates what the Nationals can achieve for our regions."
According to the Public Interest Journalism Initiative's Newsroom Mapping Project, almost 170 newsrooms have shut across Australia this year as COVID-19 decimated advertising revenue. In comparison, around 50 new papers have opened.
More than 100 grant agreements have now been reached under the news gathering fund, which was announced in May as part of the Morrison government's COVID-19 relief package.
Broadcaster Prime has received $4.7 million under the program, while WIN has received almost $4.5 million.
The government is under pressure to find ways to help regional media survive in the long term.
Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Austereo have joined with ACM to call on government to relax the voices test - which requires there to be at least four voices in regional commercial radio licence areas - and abolish the one-licence-to-a-market rule.
The story Australian Community Media receives $10.4m under the Public Interest News Gathering Fund first appeared on Farm Online.