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

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

IT only takes a walk on Lake Cathie beach or a cuppa at Kew for our MPs to extol the virtues of the Camden Haven and the many newsworthy stories of those who call it home.

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

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

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

Both long-time MPs recognise the role 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?” Dr Gillespie said.

The launch of News Of The Area (NOTA) marks the return of local news after 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 to see a cut and paste of a story from the mothership put into 20 different locations.”

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

“Provided the community gets behind it and is as determined and dedicated to having a local paper as the people who are running it.”

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

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


Federal MP for Lyne David Gillespie. Photo: Sue Stephenson

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