13 February 2023: The University of Canberra’s Professor Sora Park, from the News and Media Research Centre (NMRC), has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Program Grant for her project Heartbeat of Australia: Tracking, Understanding, and Engaging News Audiences.
The Linkage Grants promote national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.
Professor Park, who led the pilot project in collaboration with Australian Community Media (ACM), said it was rewarding to receive recognition for the work that went into the research.
“The Heartbeat of Australia Pilot Study was conducted in 2022 with ACM, and confirms an important link between satisfaction with local news and an individual’s wellbeing and connectedness to the community, particularly in the regions,” she said.
“The Linkage project brings together a team of Australia’s leading media scholars, and I think it’s that collaboration that the ARC has seen value in.”
The significant funding – worth $347,427– will allow Professor Park and the project team to further develop the research and continue investigating the impact and sustainability of local news in regional Australia.
“This project will deepen the understanding of the connection between healthy local news ecosystems, and communities” Professor Park said.
“The findings from this project will provide evidence on the relationship between local news, advertising, online information and content, digital platforms, and audience responses from a wellbeing perspective.”
In addition to the Heartbeat of Australia project, Professor Park is also Chief Investigator on another Linkage award project led by Western Sydney University, titled Addressing misinformation with Media Literacy through Cultural Institutions.
That project, having received funding worth $507,970, aims to develop media literacy initiatives to help Australians combat misinformation.
The funding announcements follow Professor Park’s appointment as an ARC College of Experts Member, which was announced earlier this month.
Members of the College of Experts play a key role in identifying research excellence, moderating external assessments of research grand proposals, and recommending projects to be funded.
Professor Park said she is looking forward to starting her three-year term with the College.
“I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to work with academic colleagues from different disciplines across Australia to improve research outcomes,” she said.