Local and independent news publishers, including The Western Weekender, gather at Port Douglas

Independent publishers in Port Douglas this week.
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Local and independent news publishers are gathering in Port Douglas this week for the second annual LINA Summit.

The Summit brings over 75 delegates together from across the country, representing more than 50 news-making organisations and industry stakeholders.

Among topics of the week are sessions related to revenue and sustainability for newsrooms, audience trust and engagement, public interest journalism, and how journalists and publishers can support their work by harnessing new technology, including AI.

Western Weekender Managing Editor, Troy Dodds, is among those at the Summit.

“It’s been fantastic to hear a range of new ideas, and to learn about a range of initiatives available for our industry,” he said.

“There’s a wide-ranging group at the Summit – so there’s an opportunity to learn from each other, and to teach other as well.

“We will all be bringing great ideas and initiatives back to our newsrooms.”

The 2024 LINA Summit comes as the government considers how best to respond to the threat of rising misinformation and disinformation, and other recent developments including Meta’s announcement that they would not be renewing deals with publishers made under the news media bargaining code.

Last month LINA called on the government to provide support to small publishers which would be disproportionately impacted should Meta remove news publishers from Facebook and Instagram.

In her opening address, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland thanked LINA and its member publishers for their submissions informing the government’s approach to the News Media Assistance Program (News MAP), currently in development.

“I am focused on ways to enable a diverse and sustainable media landscape to support a strong and healthy democracy. Local, hyper-local, digital and independent news is key to this,” Rowland said.

“We are also preparing to introduce a bill for an Australian content obligation on streaming services as well as legislation to empower the ACMA to hold digital platforms to account for seriously harmful misinformation and disinformation online.

“All Australians – regardless of where they live – want, and deserve, access to local news that they can rely upon. LINA’s members provide precisely that.”

LINA Executive Director Claire Stuchbery said the Summit, which is co-hosted by Port Douglas’ local news service Newsport, is an opportunity for publishers to connect with one another while workshopping new strategies and receiving training and insights from expert leaders in the media.

“It’s important that we support news publishers through this turbulent time of industry transition by providing them with resources to diversify income streams, connect with new audiences, and continue to produce high quality news within their communities,” Stuchbery said.

“The value of local news is demonstrated here in Port Douglas through Newsport’s role over the past few months in covering the impacts and recovery operation for the Severe Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

“Local newsrooms play a critical role delivering information and connecting communities in a media landscape that is becoming increasingly impacted by news deserts and content syndication.”

Beyond fostering industry collaboration, LINA’s annual Summit set the agenda for the industry association’s work moving forward, with a focus on practical support for newsrooms and building awareness of the contribution journalism makes in communities.

LINA is a not-for-profit industry association established in 2021, supporting local and independent digital news. LINA’s goals are to strengthen public interest journalism and provide capacity-building support, networking and services for newsrooms.

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