The Government is preparing to announce a new contestable fund of about $50 million to support community journalism.
It will be run over several years by New Zealand on Air and will be funded from the Government's Covid-19 response and recovery fund, of which $10.3 billion is unallocated.
It is understood the Cabinet approved a funding package this week and details will be unveiled within the next two weeks by Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi.
NZ on Air already funds a $1 million pilot programme called Local Democracy Reporting (LDR) which is run through RNZ and supported by the News Publishers' Association.
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It funds eight reporters in various news outlets across New Zealand to cover such bodies as local authorities, community boards, and district health boards and is appointing up to six more staff for this year.
It is believed the new fund will be available to fund a broader range of community journalism and that news organisations hosting local democracy reporters will likely have to apply to the new fund after current funding ends.
The Government released a $50 million media support package in April last year, aimed mainly at broadcast media. It included $20.5 million to cut Kordia TV/FM transmission fees for six months; $16.5 million to reduce media organisations' NZ on Air content contribution fees for the 2020-21 financial year; $1.3 million for central government and Crown entities to take up news media subscriptions; and $11.1 million for targeted assistance to companies if needed.
- Audrey Young