Where ‘your neighbour in court’ goes unreported

May 19, 2024 at 11:14 am by admin

What happens to “your neighbour in court” is more likely to go unremarked if he or she lives in an area covered only by an independent publisher, and doesn’t resort to violence.

That is one of the conclusions of a comparative report based on key findings from PIJI’s Australian News Sampling Project last year.

In NSW, it found major publishers were more likely to have a reporter in a regional court than smaller ones, but there was “little to no evidence of court reporting” at most independent media outlets. 

“Court stories mostly covered plea hearings in local court, and most outlets primarily covered violent crime,” the Public Interest Journalism Initiative found.”

The survey last October found that no court reports from Broken Hill were published during the whole month.

It found regional titles published more local stories, while capital city mastheads ran fewer local stories compared to those about state and national affairs.

The Australian News Sampling Project 2023 Report also includes results of a comparative sample in the Eyre Peninsula, conducted in February and November 2023.

It noted “moderate change” since the region’s two newspapers had been acquired and brought into the same editorial structure, although geographic areas of the remote SW region “remained remarkably consistent” after the merger. “Government reporting declined as community reporting increased,” it said.

PIJI’s March Australian News Index report noted the launch of Shoalhaven, NSW, news website The Spark, alongside three other openings and four closures recorded during the month.

Australian Community Media’s The Advertiser in Cessnock, NSW, printed its final edition in November 2023, and PIJI added three “national scale” outlets to its register, Australian Property Journal, The Greek Herald (launched 1926) and the National Indigenous Times, after “reviewing them for public interest journalism”.

Pictured: Sandstone sculptures are a tourist attraction in the desert outside Broken Hill (Photo VisitNSW).


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