(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

This weekend we started to see how the COVID-triggered close of Sydney’s community newspapers is damaging democracy at its most local level, with a significant fall in an informed, engaged vote in New South Wales’ local council elections.

In April last year, News Corp axed more than 100 community and regional newspapers, including most of those that were once dropped free on to suburban lawns every week. They now exist -- if at all -- as “local” pages within the site of the company’s pay-walled city tabloid.

There’s more “local” in the brand than in the news. The “Parramatta” page in Sydney’s Tele reported this weekend’s local council results with a photo of Clover Moore from the City of Sydney, some 25 kilometres to the east.