Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
A new community foundation has been established in Alice Springs to build capabilities, connections and encourage positive community conversations and action. Mparntwe Alice Springs Community Foundation’s (MASCF) first project was to bring back a printed weekly newspaper.
Professor K. Hess, researches and writes about the importance of local newspapers in the regions.
“It is widely acknowledged that local news outlets perform vital functions in regional and rural communities, including informing, educating and entertaining a public that is often marginalised in favour of their big-city counterparts; providing a forum for public debate; creating a shared sense of community; and fulfilling a watchdog role by providing a check and balance on institutions such as local government, courts, churches, schools and police.”
Alice Springs hasn’t had a local newspaper since News Corp ceased printing the Alice Springs-based Centralian Advocate in 2020. Fully aware of the challenges facing newspapers that are struggling all around regional Australia, the Foundation invited established newspaper operator Today News Group to provide support to help ensure the long-term success of the publication. On 24 August – less than two months after the Foundation was formed – the first edition of The Centralian Today hit the stands!
Libby Prell, Chair of the Foundation, said the community desperately needed a newspaper.
“Alice Springs is an incredible place but we have significant challenges that can erode our connectedness, community and sense of shared future.
“A trusted newspaper that reflects our whole community is essential for a stronger community”, she said. “Having a newspaper in town provides the platform for community engagement and shared effort to make our town the place we all want it to be,” said Ms Prell.
“It is early days for the Foundation, and there’s much to do to realise its potential to encourage and support positive change in Alice Springs”, said John Huigen, Executive Director of the Foundation, said. “The first major milestone is the newspaper’s first edition, but people will hear a lot more about the Foundation as we move forward.”
If you’d like to support their work, Mparntwe Alice Springs Community Foundation holds a Community Foundation Account with FRRR to help them fundraise.
Community Foundations are place-based organisations that are deeply connected to their communities and offer excellent opportunity to invest in activities prioritised by their people in rural and regional areas. The community foundation sector continues to grow across the country now with around 40 Foundations bringing focus and support for local issues, challenges and opportunities.