The North Central Review were one of 106 recipients of a Newsroom Sustainability and Digital Transformation Fund, supplied by Meta, in partnership with Country Press Australia, CPA.

The regional publications across Australia will receive a share of the fund, which will support the digital transformation of regional newsrooms in Australia, providing further investment for sustaining the news ecosystem across the country.

“The Country Press Australia fund builds upon Meta’s ongoing work to support the growth of small rural and regional newsrooms in Australia, and we are thankful to CPA for their collaboration and partnership in designing this program,” News Partnerships Lead Australia Andrew Hunter said.

“From Colac to Cairns, our partnership with CPA is driving innovation and sustainability for the small newsrooms dotted around the nation that are doing the essential work of keeping their local communities informed.”

Review general manager/editor Lauren Duffy thanked Meta, who control Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR, for the funding, which would be used for technology upgrades and to employ a digital journalist.

“To increase our production of public interest journalism, we need to increase readership and advertising revenue, and we believe improving our digital presence will do this,” she said.

“In order to grow in the digital space, we need someone to step into the leadership role, which will not only assist in the production of news content but increase website traffic, which will increase digital advertising.”

CPA president Andrew Manuel welcomed the Meta initiative, saying it was the culmination of many long months of collaborative consultation, in which the digital platform was always a willing and enthusiastic partner.

“This is a real win for public interest journalism in regional and rural Australia,” he said.

“And that is what this is about. It is not so much about the dollars but more importantly what it achieves in assisting publishers to continue to provide quality journalism.”

He said Meta had recognised the importance to communities, and their need for local media as being fundamental to their well-being.

“This really is about sustainability of journalism in small businesses all around regional and rural Australia, and with it, their vital engagement with their communities. For this we are indeed grateful,” Mr Manuel said.

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