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JNI supports Australian journalism during COVID-19

The Australian media has worked under challenging conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, while more people are reading, watching and listening to news, media organisations are struggling with the economic impact of the virus. Freelance and casual journalists were among the first to lose work after ad revenues declined and costs were cut.

In April 2020, the Institute announced an initiative to support journalists and media organisations during the coronavirus crisis. Through the freelancer and casual contributor fund, the Institute has helped journalists cover important stories, at a time when they are needed most. The funding has allowed freelancers and casual contributors to keep working through the pandemic, while also easing the financial burden on media organisations.

Funding has been provided to media across Australia, including independent and regional publishers. Grant recipients have produced hundreds of stories, providing news, analysis and commentary on a wide range of topics, including health, science, arts and entertainment, sport, diversity, travel, First Nations people, law, older Australians and foreign affairs.

What the Institute supported

The Institute has provided grants to more than 30 media organisations across Australia.

The organisations range from major metropolitan mastheads to small, regional operators.

Some cover a broad range of stories, while others are dedicated to specific topics — from science and health to sport and entertainment.

JNI's funding has helped media organisations to engage more than 120 freelance and casual contributors.

A range of media professionals have been supported, including journalists and writers, sub-editors, photographers and podcasters.

The projects they have worked on have varied in duration from a few weeks to several months. 

Grant recipient have produced more than 550 stories.

Stories have covered a wide range of topics, including domestic violence, legal affairs, disability services, foreign policy, Indigenous affairs, arts and culture, older Australians, and sports.

Freelancer grant recipients

Find out more about the organisations and journalists the Institute has supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veteran journalist Howard Kotton has been commissioned to write a weekly column on the AFL.

The column is appearing in ACM mastheads in several states and territories during the coronavirus-disrupted football season.

Find out more about the column

ArtsHub has launched the Wellness and Recovery Resource: a suite of articles written for artists and arts workers during the pandemic.

The series aims to build resilience and increase connections for artists in isolation.

Find out more about the Wellness Recovery Resource

The Asia Society's long-form essay series Disruptive Asia and its Briefing MONTHLY newsletter are providing analysis of Asia-Australia relations.

Both publications deliver expert commentary from leading business, academic and public sector figures.

Find out more about the project

Five photographers are recording the working lives of Australians in regional areas for The Australian.

The series shows the struggles and victories of people living outside the major cities who have been affected by the economic fallout from the virus.

See what the photographers say about the project

Evidence-based reporting has become even more important to The Conversation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With JNI's support, The Conversation was able to hire a talented young journalist to help its senior health and science editors to produce more quality stories featuring expert commentary.

Read the reporting

JNI provided a grant to Private Media to support its three sites: Crikey, The Mandarin and Smart Company.

The funding supported freelance reporters, casual sub-editors, as well as special reporting projects.

Read the reporting

Croakey's 'JusticeCOVID' initiative has examined the impact of the pandemic on people in jail through a series of in-depth articles, graphics and podcasts.

It has been important and timely work, coinciding with a groundswell of concern over Indigenous deaths in custody and racial inequality around the world.

Find out more about 'JusticeCOVID'

Family Travel magazine has created a series of stories that will inspire and inform Australian families planning post-lockdown holidays.

The Institute's funding has helped Family Travel to transition to a wholly online publishing platform and engage local freelancers to create digital stories and an e-book.

Find out more about the project

With the help of a grant from JNI, sports news site Footyology has commissioned more original journalism from a wider range of contributors.

It has also expanded its focus to include a wider range of sports, popular culture and entertainment.

Find out more about Footyology

Get lost is an independent quarterly travel magazine with a team of journalists and photographers who track down stories from all across the globe.

The Institute has provided funding for writers and photographers to create content for several issues of the magazine.

Find out more about get lost

'Through the window' is a pandemic diary published in Griffith Review's 'Great Reads' newsletter.

The series examines the changes to people's habits and lifestyles prompted by COVID-19.

Find out more about the series

The Guardian continues to produce vital public service journalism during the pandemic.

With JNI's support, it has employed casual reporters and editors who have contributed to explainers and daily reports.

Find out more about The Guardian's coronavirus coverage

Have a Go News is an independent newspaper that reports on issues important to older Western Australians.

A grant from JNI has allowed the newspaper to continue its operations despite falling advertising revenues. The funding has also helped Have a Go News to hire freelance reporters and sub-editing staff.

Find out more about Have a Go News

InDaily has extended its coverage of the COVID-19 crisis with the help of a grant from JNI.

As well as supporting rolling coverage, the grant funding has allowed reporters to dig deeper into important stories.

Find out more about the project

The Indian Sun has allocated more resources to cover stories about migrants living in regional areas.

The stories look at the level of integration of migrants in their new communities and the challenges of isolation during COVID-19.

Find out more about the project

JNI funding has helped Inside Story to commission three long-form articles.

The reportage has covered communications during the pandemic, secrecy during the crisis, and the health effects of bushfires last summer.

Find out more about Inside Story's features

InQueensland is an independent and free news site launched just weeks before the pandemic took hold.

JNI's funding helped InQueensland expand its presence on the Gold Coast. The result has been a steady flow of lead stories, including breaking news coverage and important analysis.

Find out more about the InQueensland

Justinian and the Gazette of Law and Journalism have felt the financial pinch of the pandemic and have had to deal with the logistical challenge of covering courts and trial remotely.

JNI has provided funding to help the publications continue to cover cases in the public interest during the pandemic.

Find out more about the project

The Koori Mail is an independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander print newspaper.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a financial impact on the Koori Mail and the Institute's support has helped it to continue to engage freelancers.

Read the stories from First Nations journalists

Readers have responded enthusiastically to Limelight's specialist arts reporting and commentary during the pandemic, as they come to terms with the shifting of performances from live spaces to online.

JNI's funding helped Limelight employ three respected writers to help readers navigate the growing web of online entertainment.

Read the 'in your living room' columns

The Local is a weekly news magazine based in Victoria's Central Highlands. It is distributed to communities throughout the region, including Daylesford, Hepburn, Kyneton, Tylden and Creswick.

With JNI's support, freelance journalist Kate Taylor has produced a number of stories about inspiring women from the local area.

Find out more about the project

The New Daily's 'COVID Conversation' is a weekly podcast hosted by science reporter John Elder.

The podcast delivers in-depth conversations with a variety of Australian medical, psychological and ethical experts.

Find out more about the podcast

Journalist Nina Funnell's '#LetHerSpeak' campaign — a push to amend the laws which prevent sexual assault survivors from telling their story — has gathered widespread acclaim.

With funding from JNI, Funnell is expanding her campaign in Victoria.

Find out more about the '#LetHerSpeak' campaign

JNI has provided funding to APN, which publishes a number of News Corp mastheads in regional Queensland and northern NSW.

The granted has funded contract writers to produce stories remotely for various titles to run in print and online.

Read more from the regional newspapers

The Institute has provided funding to QWeekend — a magazine hosted in the Saturday Courier Mail — to publish three feature stories.

Journalist Catriona Mathewson's articles offer fresh perspectives and ideas to QWeekend's readers.

Find out more about the project

The Institute has provided funding to Schwartz Media to support business reporting in The Saturday Paper.

The stories have also been adapted for Schwartz Media's daily news podcast '7am'.

Read the reporting

Each week, SAWeekend takes an in-depth look at important issues, people and events in South Australia.

Thanks to funding from JNI, the magazine has been able to shine a light on important issues in the state.

Take a look at the stories

Ten FM is a local community radio station broadcasting from Tenterfield, in northern NSW.

The Institute has provided funding for Ten FM to appoint a journalist for three months to gather and prepare local news items.

Listen to Ten FM

Time Out covers the best of food, drink, culture, art, music, theatre, travel and entertainment in cities around the world.

The Institute has funded a journalist to cover Sydney's arts scene.

Find out more about the project

Travel Play Live is an Australian travel and lifestyle magazine written for women by women.

JNI has provided funding for a series of digital and print articles sharing travel tales from inspirational women.

Find out more about the magazine

Travel Without Limits is a disability travel magazine that engages writers living with disability, as well as sharing inspirational stories.

A grant from the Institute has helped Travel Without Limits to engage a number of writers living with a disability.

Find out how people with a disability are telling their stories

We Are Explorers is an outdoor adventure publication that is highlighting local travel opportunities during the pandemic.

The Institute provided a grant to fund a series of stories and guides for the 'Explore Your Backyard' campaign — a mixture of first-person stories and round-up type articles for destinations in Australia or New Zealand.

Find out more about the 'Explore Your Backyard' campaign

Women's Agenda is a news site that explores politics, business, leadership, tech and life from the perspective of professional women and female entrepreneurs.

JNI funding has supported a major exploration into the gendered impacts of COVID-19.

Find out more about the investigation

2SER is providing paid opportunities for trainee newsroom journalists to extend their skills and experience.

A grant from JNI has helped the 2SER newsroom to maintain a consistent news service for its audience during the pandemic.

Find out more about the project