AddThis SmartLayers

May 2017 target for BBC local reporting partnership

Jeremy CliffordA pioneering local democracy reporting partnership with the BBC could be up and running by next May, industry leaders suggested today.

The BBC together with the News Media Association have proposed a local democracy reporting service made up of 150 reporters employed by local press groups but paid for by the licence fee.

Johnston Press editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford told the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle today he hoped it will be up and running in time for the next set of county council elections in May.

Jeremy is one of the senior industry figures currently working with the BBC to bring the much-vaunted public service reporting project to fruition, two years after it was first mooted at an earlier SoE conference.

Said Jeremy:  “We’ve seen a real improvement in our working relationship already.  There’s a real desire to see this succeed on both sides.”

“It would be really good if we could send out a message to say we are employing more journalists to cover the county council elections in 2017.”

Leading the project from the BBC side is Matthew Barraclough, editor of the BBC Journalism Working Group.

He too said he hoped the project would “come to life in the first half of next year” and said the BBC had set aside £8m a year to make it happen.

Also involved in the project is David Higgerson, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror Regionals which is currently running a pilot project with a BBC reporter working out of its Nottingham Post newsroom to carry out civic reporting.

Said David: “We have 150 reporters and 400 councils so one of the things we’ve been working on is how we stretch 150 reporters across the UK.”

Other pilot projects are taking place at Wrexham daily The Leader, and the Shields Gazette in South Shields, which has a BBC Online journalist now based in its newsroom.

Asked by Express & Star editor Keith Harrison where editorial control of the reporters would lie, Jeremy replied that it had been made clear that the publishers carrying out the public service reporting contracts would employ the journalists.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • October 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    You have to take your hat off to the sheer brass neck of it.

    ‘Honest guv, we wan’t to do a good job and not just churn out clickbait about sandwiches that look like Pol Pot but we simply don’t have the funds, maybe if you were to gives us some?’

    The revolution will not be televised, it will however, be available on pay per view.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(14)
  • October 17, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Excellent idea..but so is employing more staff reporters on local regional and weekly papers..instead of digital suits…

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(9)
  • October 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    The blind leading the blind. If it wasn’t so funny it would be tragic.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(9)
  • October 18, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    So the BBC and its Licence Fee are to shore up local newspapers owned by Newsquest,Trinity Mirror, and Johnston Press which are set on cutting back its staff. See the South London strike. Why should the BBC subsidise these newspapers who seemingly don’t value news and the ‘click culture’ is dominant in their thinking. In the meantime, the BBC has announced cuts which amount to 16 jobs per region. An interesting equation!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(13)
  • October 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Local newspaper groups like NQ, TM and JP have seen their revenue models destroyed by the advent of the internet. At least part of the blame for that has to lie with the BBC, who are able to provide a comprehensive free online news service funded by the taxpayer. Also, many of the BBC’s local stories are sourced from local papers owned by the aforementioned groups, often without credit and always without payment. So it’s great news that the BBC are giving something back. If anything, they could do more.

    By “click culture”, Diana, I assume you mean “use of audience data”. Maybe local papers should stop using data and just guess what people want to read. That’d be a good idea, right?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)