This piece was originally written for our Wales Matters newsletter, a free daily briefing on the biggest issues affecting Wales. If you'd like to sign up to get it in your inbox every evening, click here.

If you’re reading this newsletter, the chances are that you would like to see more writing, thinking and reporting on what is happening in Wales - not less. We’re living through an era in which the way journalism is funded, produced and distributed is and has been changing dramatically.

There is both huge potential in this online-dominated world but reporting is also incredibly vulnerable without the huge, loyal, paying readerships which once supported well-staffed local newspapers the length and breadth of Wales.

WalesOnline is evidence of both the huge potential and the keen vulnerability of this emerging world. Our journalism, which last week won our staff and titles 19 nominations at the regional press awards, can reach a wide audience not constrained by geography of circulation areas.

Work like Conor Gogarty’s exceptional undercover expose of the direct sales industry in Cardiff, Will Hayward's work on the problems in the Welsh NHS, Katie Sands and Megan Feringa's powerful work on the lives of women in Welsh sport, and our live reporting on the ground from the Ely riots were among the pieces recognised in the awards.

And yet all publishers from small start-up news blogs to longstanding news providers are at the mercy of the whims and changes of platforms like Facebook and Google which dominate the online advertising market and can wipe away millions of monthly page views with changes to their algorithms, as has happened in the last year.

Everything you read on WalesOnline is published by both the website and our network of newspapers around Wales, including the Western Mail. Revenues from both our online and print output support our work. But both sources of income are under threat.

We’ve started trialling new models. We offer a premium subscription version of our app, our Welsh Affairs Editor Will Hayward writes a brilliant weekly subscription newsletter on Substack. We also offer a subscription rugby newsletter. But these are still in their early days and the dominance and breadth of the free content provided by the BBC, which is expanding into online news at the expense of local radio output, means it is far from clear what the potential and limits of subscription models will be.

The reason for airing all this is that the Welsh Government is bringing through legislation which poses a huge threat to the news industry in Wales at a time it is hugely fragile. While politicians talk about supporting the news provision and want more of it, they are legislating to remove the obligation on councils to advertise council tax changes in newspapers and take away revenue from the very news organisations like ours and others around Wales they say they want to support.

Council tax changes are only one of the things public bodies are currently obliged to advertise alongside planning changes, compulsory purchases and more. These adverts ensure openness, access to information and support the news industry. We already publish all of them both in print and on a dedicated online portal and there are very real discussions to be had about how the wording of those obligations should be broadened beyond newspapers given the changing way people consume news - while recognising the role print can still play for those who are not as comfortable online.

Yet the current change the Welsh Government is proposing simply takes away the obligation on public bodies to advertise in a newspaper without replacing it with any obligation to advertise externally. It would very simply reduce transparency and damage the news industry in one retrograde, short-sighted step.