The planned creation of a new framework for measuring Australian media diversity is critical and timely, according to the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI).
PIJI has submitted its recommendations to the Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA’s) consultation on its News diversity and localism measurement framework.
In its submission, PIJI says that the planned news measurement framework is a “critical step in developing longitudinal data that can help benchmark and assess the impact of different initiatives”.
With Australian news media “at cross-roads”, PIJI says there is an immediate need for data which can inform existing and future media policy and legislation. Through its Australian News Mapping Project, which demonstrates the stresses and challenges facing Australian news media outlets, PIJI has shown that there have been 400 changes during the past three years, with a net loss of 121 news outlets – “a sharp acceleration from previous ACCC data that showed 106 news closures over a 10-year period (2008-18)”.
The PIJI submission includes 34 technical recommendations, which include:
- introduction of a principle of ‘standardisation’ or consistency, wherever possible in line with other recent legislative and regulatory instruments (ideally to enable global benchmarking)
- strong governance practices, including a scheduled review every two years to ensure the measurement remains fit for purpose
- a staged build and review roll out to ensure the framework provides flexibility for some areas of data capture and analysis to be set aside for future consideration and/ or implementation
- consideration of the appropriate long-term structures of data collection, analysis and ownership
- further industry consultation on these key questions and on a roadmap to implementation once the ACMA has resolved the framework’s final scope.
This article was written by Sophie Arnold - ABC Friends Victoria