Is life better without printed newspapers? The author of the Australian News Data Report thinks it might be.
Public Interest Journalism Initiative head of research Gary Dickson reports almost 500 “market changes in news production and availability” since January 2019, the net effect of which has been 148 fewer news outlets.
PIJI’s latest quarterly data shows 30 local government areas now have no local print or digital news publisher, an increase of six since the last quarter.
In a chart of net changes in news production by quarter from July 2020 to June 2023, PIJI no longer refers to ‘end of print edition’ and ‘new print edition’ as change types, “so as to assess only those records that reflect changes in news production”.
“While the ‘end of print edition’ change is recorded as a contraction event, it could reasonably be argued that the transition from physical to online news distribution is a sign of positive change for an industry still in the process of digital transformation,” says Dickson.
He says the data subset suggests more stable news media market over the life of the project, with 145 expansions compared to 164 contractions since January 2019, a negative variance of -19.
“Isolating the data further to only the outlets that have opened or closed over the period shows a positive variance of +5, although such analysis does not include any impact assessment of productive capacity.”