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‘Any local news is good news’: MPs welcome the return of community journalism

State Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams. Photo: Sue Stephenson

Our MPs need only a stroll on the beach at Lake Cathie or a cup of tea in Kew to extol the virtues of Camden Haven and the many newsworthy stories of those who call it home.

Leslie Williams, Liberal State Member for Port Macquarie and Federal Nationals Member for Lyne David Gillespie, welcome the chance to read those stories again.

“Any local news is good news, especially in smaller regional communities like ours,” Ms Williams said.

“People want to know what’s going on and want to be part of the stories, and that’s why local newspapers are so important.”

Both former MPs recognize the role that independent and accessible journalism plays in explaining complex political decisions.

“Who (else) can translate the consequences of state, federal or local regulations and legislation into everyday language?” said Dr. Gillespie.

The launch of News Of The Area (NOTA) marks the return of local news following ACM’s decision in 2023 to close the 109-year-old Camden Haven Courier.

“Everyone was very disappointed,” Dr Gillespie said.

“People are tribal and want local news, and they like the words ‘Camden Haven’ on it.

“They don’t want a story cut and pasted from the mothership in 20 different locations.”

Ms. Williams believes it is possible to have sustainable local journalism.

“On condition that the community is behind it and is as determined and committed to having a local newspaper as the people who run it.”

Being free also makes a difference for both readers and advertisers when the cost of living is so high.

“One person may have the paper,” Dr. Gillespie added, “but it could be read by 20 people.”

By Sue STEPHENSON

Federal MP for Lyne David Gillespie. Photo: Sue Stephenson

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