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Regional daily and local radio station to forge ‘unique’ new partnership

Nancy FielderA regional daily and a BBC local radio station are to set aside traditional rivalries to campaign for the city they serve.

The Star, Sheffield, and BBC Radio Sheffield have announced the launch of  a “unique partnership” which will see the two organisations aiming to “strengthen the city’s place on the national map.”

The initiative will see the newspaper and the BBC, traditionally seen as a rival to the regional press industry, hosting debates together and “celebrate the many, many good things happening here but also demand and work for better”.

The campaign’s first initiative will be a ‘Force for the Future’ public debate on South Yorkshire Police, set to be held on Monday 17 October.

Star editor Nancy Fielder, pictured, said: “I am really proud to be working with Radio Sheffield to show how important local media remains and the positive role we play in our communities.

“Every single one of our police officers is accountable to the people of South Yorkshire but they also need our support in shaping a positive future.

“We cannot allow our force to be hostage to its past. Politicians across the country have had their say on South Yorkshire Police and now it is time for the people they are tasked to protect to get involved.”

BBC Radio Sheffield editor Katrina Bunker said: “Working alongside our local newspaper colleagues on big local issues and significant debates means we can have even more impact with our journalism and our audiences can have a bigger say on the way their public services are run in the future.

“The public debate on the police will be the first in what I hope will be a series of big events our two newsrooms will work together on.”

Earlier this year the BBC agreed to fund 150 journalists to be employed by regional media groups to boost coverage of local councils and devolved bodies, as well as including web links to local press stories on BBC live news feeds.


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  • October 6, 2016 at 9:05 am

    A cosy arrangement, but what happens when the two fall out?
    The next time the BBC start running unfounded stories about The Star going weekly, perhaps? Can’t image JP were amused the last time the BBC did so.
    Professional competition is what makes the media strong. Staff cuts means there isn’t much of it left, these days. The willful destruction of what competition remains is sad to see and has to be bad the public too.

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  • October 6, 2016 at 10:04 am

    “strengthen the city’s place on the national map.” How do journos come up with such pompous twaddle. “joining forces because neither of us has enough staff” more like it. But good luck to it all the same.

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  • October 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    A naive, gullible and dodgy arrangement by both parties. It is not the job of newspaper and broadcast journalists to act primarily as cheerleaders for their region. That is the role of councillors and MPs. Does this mean local news outlets will cease to probe any wrongdoings by local authorities and businesses for fear it will show the area in a bad light? This is a dangerous precedent and the public-funded BBC in particular is ignoring its remit to cover news without fear or favour.

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  • October 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Sorry, overthehill, but the benefits of professional competition have turned on their head and it is exactly what makes the media weak these days.

    With print, if there were two newspapers in the same patch, arguably, you bought one or the other and advertisers would therefore pay to be in both to reach the wider local audience.

    Today, with a whole raft of digital media to contend with your audience can freely flick between numerous online resources and it becomes a waste of money for advertisers to pay to be in them all as they would just be reaching the same audience.

    Unless there is one dominant news resource in a certain patch, engagement rates will remain poor and online advertising revenue will always be much lower than it could be.

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  • October 12, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Yes, Oliver. But without the threat of being embarrassed by the competition, reporters become lazy and complacent.
    Reporters used to take pride in stuffing the competition and that provided high quality news for the reader/listener/viewer.
    When everyone’s working together that incentive is lost.
    Not convinced? Check the content of The Star or any other city daily and compare it to what was being put out 20 or 25 years ago….

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  • October 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Sorry again but it’s really not competition that keeps reporters on their toes in regard to quality anymore. Every website has a comment section; every publisher has a Twitter profile, Facebook page and other social media. The readers will keep them on their toes in a very immediate and extremely public way.

    Also, you cannot compare a newsroom with five times the staff from 20 years ago when the costs of providing that same level of resource today could never be sustained by the current level of advertising spend. That’s really part of my previous point.

    When, or if ever, someone reaches the baseline where advertising in both print and online can sustain a reasonable ratio of both editorial and advertising staff, it will be reliant on a distinct lack of competition in that area. The owners will then show their commitment to the level of quality by either pushing for a 25-30 per cent profit margin or being happy with between five and 10.

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