Regional and local media outlets have been looking for new revenue sources to replace declining levels of print advertising for years. Not all have succeeded, and hundreds of Australian newsrooms have closed over the past decade. The global pandemic has accelerated the growth of so-called “news deserts”.

Fortunately, innovative start-up business models are stepping up to the plate. In an interview with the Walkley Foundation, *PS Media co-founder Simon Crerar explains how philanthropy is funding innovation in local journalism ahead of our webinar on the topic next Wednesday September 15.

Simon, you were the founding editor of BuzzFeed in Australia. What did that teach you about the way people consume news online?

In the five years I was at BuzzFeed, we focused a lot on interacting with our audience and building large audiences on social platforms. We built a really distinctively Australian version of BuzzFeed with relevant news, and amazing entertainment and lifestyle content. We also prioritised issues that we felt were undercovered by traditional media. So in particular we hired Indigenous affairs reporters, and put extensive resources into the LGBTQI beat, which was really well-timed with the same-sex marriage debate in the lead up to the plebiscite in 2015, this long running conversation into marriage equality in Australia.

It was a fantastic opportunity to see and understand what pieces of content really resonated with our audience, and using our owned and operated technology we analysed insights from the data to really deliver really relevant, effective content. So it was a really great journey.

Read the full article about funding local journalism at Medium.