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New partners sign up to regional TV news bid

A university and college have joined a consortium bidding to land a licence for a regional TV news pilot scheme.

Teesside University and Newcastle College are teaming up with press publisher Trinity Mirror, news agency Press Association and TV production company Ten Alps for the Independently Funded News Consortium project.

Last summer’s Digital Britain report outlined plans for three pilot news schemes in Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Borders area of north-west England.

Licences will be handed out next month with the eventual aim of providing regional Channel 3 news once ITV’s licence expires in 2013.

Neil Benson, Trinity Mirror Regionals editorial director and consortium spokesman, said: “Teesside University and Newcastle College bring a fresh dimension to our bid.

“We have enjoyed close and very successful relationships with both these academic institutions in the past so we know they have a hugely positive outlook, excellent facilities and a very talented and eager body of students who will contribute a great deal to the bid.”

Two weeks ago the Cumbria-based CN Group also joined as partners of the consortium.

Earlier this month, the consortium was shortlisted alongside bids from UTV and a group containing Johnston Press and Newsquest among others for the English regional bid.

Teesside University vice-chancellor Professor Graham Henderson said: “Teesside University is very enthusiastic about the development of a local television service in the Tees Valley and looks forward to supporting its growth.”

Newcastle College Group chief executive Jackie Fisher added: “We are delighted to be involved in this bid and look forward to working with our partners in the consortium.

“This is an innovative partnership which will be of immense value to the region.”