(Image: AAP/James Ross)

Almost day by day, new regional start-ups that print the news on actual paper are popping up to fill the news deserts being left in Australia’s towns and regions by the collapse of the once-dominant chains.

But the biggest of Australia’s chains -- News Corp -- is not surrendering easily. By promising 50 digital-only local news sites, it threatens to block the new voices. In May, News Corp shifted about 100 former regional and local print mastheads to web-only, with an estimated loss of 500 jobs.

This week, in Casino in northern NSW, the crowd-funded not-for-profit  Richmond River Independent will be printing its third issue of local news, to fill the gap left when News Corp closed the local Express and rolled its content into the now wholly on-line Northern Star in neighbouring Lismore.