Journalist Fund grants empower next-gen storytellers

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Up to 56 new cadet journalists are hitting the beat in 38 regional newsrooms across the nation, after being awarded grants through the first round of the Australian Government's Journalist Fund.

The outcome of the program delivers on the Albanese Government's October 2022-23 Budget commitment to allocate $5 million to engage cadet journalists to produce locally-relevant content.

The funding is being provided in partnership with selected regional news organisations to employ new journalists under a co-contribution arrangement, with a 2-year package of up to $150,000 per cadet.

The second round of the Journalist Fund, supporting First Nations regional media organisations to employ First Nations cadets is underway. The Department is currently consulting with Indigenous Community Television, Koori Mail, National Indigenous Times and Torres News to support the engagement of 5 First Nations cadets.

The Government will contribute 70 per cent of each cadetship package, up to $105,000, and successful grant recipients will be required to contribute the remaining 30 per cent.

The successful applicants have been approved by Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

The Government is delivering a fund that implements lessons learned from a previous cadetships program announced in 2018, following an independent evaluation by ACIL Allen.

Fund design changes as a result of lessons learned include a more generous funding package per cadet and paying more to grantees earlier, so that they are set up to succeed. Consultation is also key, so the department engaged early and strategically with stakeholders to ensure rigorous program design.

The Journalist Fund grant program complements the Government's Regional and Local Newspapers Publishers Program, delivering on its key election commitment of a $29 million local news and community broadcasting transition package to bolster the industry.

Quotes attributable to the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications:

"Local news outlets are at the heart of our regional communities, investigating and sharing the stories that matter, and keeping locals informed and connected.

"The Australian Government is committed to supporting public interest journalism and media diversity, and fostering cadet journalists is key to the sustainability of regional media organisations.

"I am proud that this program will help shape the next generation of storytellers, and assist journalists already making their mark on the Australian media landscape."

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