Two regional publishers have won half a million Euros worth of funding for a joint project aimed at improving their audio output.
Reach plc and JPIMedia have been given the grant by Google’s Digital News Initiative, which will see them work with podcast platform Entale to identify ways to make podcasts and other audio projects sustainable through revenue.
According to a summary of the project, called ‘Laudable’, the three partners will develop a local news platform for audio content, work with newsrooms to develop audio concepts and deliver “compelling audio experience for local audiences in the UK”.
Reach currently runs a number of podcasts across its network of regional titles, hosted by its journalists, on topics ranging from football and music to crime and mental health.
A description of the project on the DNI website states: “Everyone knows podcasts and audio are increasing in popularity, but local news and information has yet to find a sustainable place in the audio world.
“Laudable aims to address this, working with publishers large and small to create sustainable audio content supported by revenue.”
Newsquest succeeded in winning a €398,000 grant from the fund for a new tool which will aid people submitting content to their newspapers.
The ‘Loquial’ scheme will enable members of local communities to submit content “ready-for-publication” by local newsrooms, and the company says the tool will enable its journalists to spend more time on in-depth reporting instead of repurposing and repackaging such content.
Henry Faure Walker, chief executive of Newsquest, said: “We’re really pleased that we have secured Google’s backing for our community content project.
“It’s a service that will enable and encourage local people to share and publish their community news on our platforms – and in so doing free up our valuable journalists’ time to focus on the sort of high impact, in-depth reporting that remains central to the strength and trust of our brands.”
Archant was also awarded funding for a picture archiving project which will help people “discover vintage photographs relating to their lives”.
The scheme, entitled ‘The Story Of…’ is described as “an enticing new way to organise and monetise a rich photographic archive”.