Australia’s Public Interest Journalism Initiative will benefit from A$900,000-worth of federal funding support for its analysis of the health of the country’s journalism.
Federal minister for communications Michelle Rowland announced the support for PIJI’s longitudinal data analysis.
Thanking the minister, PIJI chief executive Anna Draffin said the group had worked since 2019 to collect and assess meaningful, accurate data on the state of the news sector. “Without this information, Australia cannot develop effective policy to support what is a key component of any healthy democracy,” she said.
“In the age of misinformation and fake news, and as the traditional financial model of journalism becomes increasingly obsolete, now more than ever we need decision-making regarding its future to be based on facts and informed, independent analysis.”
The funding is part of an election commitment to develop a News Media Assistance Program to support a diverse and sustainable media sector. The 2022-23 Budget committed $4 million for the development of the News MAP, a programme of work to “lay the foundations for principled, targeted and evidenced-based support for the news media sector”. It will be used to inform longer term news media policy interventions.
PIJI is an independent non-profit company that produces the Australian News Data Report which assesses media diversity and plurality. A one-off government commitment of $900,000 will support PIJI in continuing to collect, analyse, visualise and maintain Australian public interest news and journalism data.
The funding agreement with PIJI is the first of the News MAP early initiatives to be announced.
Draffin says government support for public interest journalism and media diversity in Australia should be principles-based and evidence-informed. “This data provides a foundation for consideration of practical policy solutions in support of a diverse and sustainable media sector that serves the public interest.
-PIJI's board of directors has appointed Virginia Haussegger (pictured) as its deputy chair – serving under Allan Fels – and Simon Wilkie as a director. Wilkie, who is head of Monash Business School and dean of the faculty of business and economics, had previously as an external member of PIJI's policy working group.