AddThis SmartLayers

5,000th news story filed by community wire service

A news service which provides coverage of community groups across the country has sent its 5,000th story – and won praise from the Home Secretary.

The Community Newswire has hit the milestone a full four months ahead of target following a huge response from the voluntary sector. And now Charles Clarke has described the scheme as “invaluable”.

He said: “Since its launch in June 2004 the Newswire has provided an invaluable service for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups that currently have little or no contact with the media.

“It has also demonstrated a successful partnership between the voluntary sector, the media industry and Government.”

In the seven months since it launched the pioneering project, delivered via The Press Association’s wire service, has distributed news from over 1,300 community and voluntary groups.

The service reached its 5,000th story with an article on the launch of The Traveller Project, an initiative in south east England to break down prejudice against gypsies and travellers.

The Community Newswire is a partnership between registered charity the Media Trust and The Press Association funded by the Volunteering and Charitable Giving Unit at the Home Office.

Community groups file press releases through to a team of PA reporters who turn them into articles for the regional wires.

The service originally aimed to put out 20 stories a day but the daily average is 32, with 94 per cent of submitted press releases published.

Paul Potts, PA chief executive and editor-in-chief said: “The Community Newswire has become a valuable service for the regional media – feedback tells us they consider it an important resource for covering their local communities.”

Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust which promotes the newswire, said: “The voluntary sector holds all our communities together. It is vital that the media helps to raise the visibility of volunteers and community groups.”