Writing in Media Guardian, Michelle, pictured, called on local press bosses to work more closely with the corporation, rather than viewing it as the “culprit.”
At the same time, she said the corporation should stop “ripping off” local newspapers by not crediting them when it uses their stories.
Earlier this year the BBC’s ‘Future of News’ report it said would have to do more to provide local news amid what it called “the decline of the regional press”.
On Monday it was announced new culture secretary John Whittingdale had appointed Ashley to an eight-person panel of experts put together to advise him on the BBC charter renewal process.
Discussing the Future of News report in her Media Guardian piece, Michelle wrote: “The BBC claimed it was the only news organisation committed to reporting the whole of the UK, community by community, region by region, nation by nation.
“The truth is that when the going was good, newspaper group managements milked the profits for their shareholders and executives, made unwise acquisitions and failed to invest in journalism.”
She added: “It is completely disingenuous for these self-interested entities, who have been the masters of their own decline, to point to the BBC’s website as the culprit.
“That said, the BBC needs to work in partnership with local media. It has earned a reputation for ripping off local newspaper stories without crediting them. That must stop – the BBC should link to any story it takes from local news outlets.
It was announced in April that the BBC would set up a content-sharing deal with the regional press as part of its Local Live web feed, which will be introduced across England by the middle of 2016, and is already being trialled in areas including Yorkshire and the North-East.
Added Michelle: “It must hasten its rollout of the Local Live pilots, which aim to provide original stories, updates and take readers on to external media.
“The plan is to extend it across the country by mid-2016 and to include hyperlocals. But it must brought forward, otherwise the corporation risks being accused of doing too little too late.
“The BBC’s website has been at the forefront of many innovations later copied by other news groups. It is where people go for news they can trust. It would be a piece of monumental spite if the enemies and rivals of the corporation succeeded in killing or hobbling the BBC website.”