For the fast-growing population in New South Wales’ Byron Bay & Northern Rivers on Bundjalung Nation, 2BAY FM’s Community Newsroom (CN) is one of the few independent sources of news available and holds a special place in the heart of its surrounding communities.
Producing weekly news, current affairs, specialist and daily bulletins as well as online and print content – the CN has covered remarkable ground over the years, from natural disasters and issues impacting marginalised communities across the country, to matters in the public interest and of national significance.
Through trusted networks it has developed over time with community leaders, spokespeople and local media, the long-running project has been able to draw on its hyper-local connections to consistently deliver in-depth news that offers unique insight into its local communities and beyond. This has enabled the CN to give a voice to vulnerable and marginalised people in its communites, and to shed light on the important stories of social injustice from local police assaults to housing crises, whistleblower action and the local state election.
In 2022, 2BAY won several awards at the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) Awards including for Excellence in News and Current Affairs Programming. The CN was also commended for its work in response to ongoing disaster recovery following the 2022 floods and landslides in the area, as the station went on to receive the 2022 CBAA Tony Staley Award for actively promoting the values of community broadcasting in democracy, diversity, access and independence. ‘It’s been an amazing, albeit often overwhelming year as we continue to recover from floods and landslides in early 2022, eighteen months ago’, shares the CN’s Executive Producer, Mia Armitage.
2BAY’s CN was a recipient of CBF’s Round 1 Content grant 2022/23. CBF support has enabled the CN to continue to engage young people in the production of community news, with one local high student joining the CN so far via the station’s Youth in Climate Action project. Funding has also supported Executive Producer salary support, recruit training and management, professional digital subscriptions to journalist resources, production costs, as well as staff travel expenses to attend the 2022 CBAA conference. For the CN’s Mia Armitage, attendance at the CBAA conference not only provided valuable opportunities to connect with other community broadcasters, journalists and sector members – it also led to exciting new collaborations.
One of the latest major developments for 2BAY FM has been collaborating with a broader range of community broadcasters and reporters via National Radio News (NRN) facilitated by CBAA. This is a space that the CN is particularly excited about as it continues to raise the profile of community media via collaborations with regional and independent producers in online, print and radio including River FM, NIM FM, The Wire, YAC Radio, Echo Publications, Fossil Fool Bulletin and many more through the NRN.
You can tune into 2BAY’s Community Newsroom on 99.9FM, bayfm.org (live-stream & on-demand), social media and the Community Radio Network (CRN).
[Image: 2BAY FM’s Community Newsroom members – Kate Payne, Executive Producer Mia Armitage and Anny Reed].