What is community journalism?

CONNECTING people through news and information is as old as time itself.

These days the way we communicate seems to change as often as the wind but, despite this, our desire and need to be informed is stronger now than maybe any time in history.

The world is now a smaller space, connected in milliseconds by devices in our hands and in our homes. While people are more technically connected, in many respects we’ve never been further apart.

The discussion about who we trust to provide accurate, timely and relevant information has never been more vital. It’s a discussion that runs in concert with the approach and outcomes our business every day.

On Wednesday, October 18, we launch Community Journalism Day across Australian Community Media (ACM) mastheads in Victoria. ACM is part of Fairfax Media in Australia and our business has a long a decorated history in serving regional and rural communities.

Community Journalism Day is about celebrating the special relationship mastheads like The Courier (Ballarat), the Bendigo Advertiser, The Standard (Warrnambool), the Moyne Gazette, the Wimmera Mail Times (Horsham), the Ararat Advertiser, the Stawell Times-News  and The Advocate (Daylesford) have with readers.

Whether it be the Addy leading respectful debate amid highly-charged planning for a mosque in Bendigo, The Courier exposing bullying in public health services or the Ararat Advertiser exposing neo-Nazi camps in the Grampians, our mastheads are agents of change. However, we give as much attention to bowls or footy results, local events and schools as we do the most important of news stories.

Journalism which reflects the ambitions of our communities is a priority. Content which celebrates the achievements of our communities drives our news lists and independent reporting ensures elected officials and those with power remain accountable.

We want to take this opportunity to talk about how are doing this now and how we will do it in the future. 

On Wednesday, we will have journalists and sales representatives in coffee shops, at retail outlets and in public places listening to your hopes and aspirations and maybe telling a story or two.  We’ll have our leaders speaking direct to you through live online video chats and through tours of our offices. 

We’ll also be giving back in the communities we love. A percentage of revenue from today's print editions will go to chosen charities, which are so important in ensuring voices are heard and issues are acted upon.

Bringing people together. Informing, advocating and educating.  Welcome to Community Journalism Day.