All the news about local government that’s fit to print

An independent research institute is surveying councils about news coverage of their activities to ensure public interest journalism continues to thrive.

Since 2020, the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI) has been gathering information on the impact of COVID-19 on local news and the impact of government interventions to support the sector.

PIJI now wants to hear from communications staff, elected officials or management in local government about how things have changed.

The survey builds on a 2019 study by PIJI in partnership with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) that examined the role of local newspapers, radio, television and websites in informing communities about the work of local government.

That survey heard from more than 100 councils and the findings from that project were published in the State of the Regions Report 2019-20.

“The previous survey gave valuable insights into local news ecosystems around Australia and has informed further research and policy design,” said Anna Draffin, chief executive officer of PIJI.

This survey asks 11 questions about interactions between local government and the media; and about the amount and types of council activities covered by your local news. It takes approximately   12 minutes to complete.

Earlier this year, PIJI visualised the print and digital news producers available in each local government area around the country. In August, broadcast news producers will be added to this data.

PIJI will also commence a research project assessing the content of local news coverage later this year.

The survey is open until 5pm on Thursday 22 September. Please click here to access it.

Inquiries about the survey should be addressed to Gary Dickson, PIJI research and projects manager: