Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

With News Corp's cuts of hundreds of editorial and content positions, the closure of the print editions of scores of regional and community papers, as well as the outright closure of around 20 regional mastheads, today is the worst day for regional and community journalism in Australian history.

Each of those lost jobs and shuttered mastheads has a real economic cost for regional communities, especially those hammered by bushfires and border closures. The civic impact is harder to define, but just as real: local stories never told, local scandals never revealed, local leaders not subject to scrutiny, local corruption never uncovered, local lives never celebrated.

The government has already provided $50 million for additional funding for regional media, which Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced in early May (applications for the Public Interest News Gathering program close tomorrow).