The corporation and News Media Association have officially been given the green light to create 150 taxpayer-funded public service reporters, who will be employed by regional press groups to cover councils and other public bodies from this summer.
The BBC and NMA have now further suggested the number of journalists employed by the scheme, which will see reporters supply copy to both the BBC and local newspapers, could rise to 200 in 2019, depending on its success.
The extra 50 could be funded from a number of different sources, including revenues raised by the participating news media groups from advertising against video content provided to them by a BBC news bank.
The news bank is set to become operational later this year as part of the scheme, and will allow participating groups access to BBC video and audio material shortly after transmission.
The partnership has further announced the creation of a BBC-funded data journalism hub to be run by seconded staff from the local news industry.
All the plans will be funded by an investment from the BBC Licence Fee of up to £8million a year for the duration of the new Royal Charter and will be subject to joint annual review by the BBC and NMA.
James Harding, pictured above left, BBC News and Current Affairs director, said: “As more power is devolved across the UK, it’s more important than ever that we cover, understand and hold to account local politicians and public services.
“The BBC has worked hard with local news organisations to develop a scheme that gives an opportunity to a new generation of reporters and strengthens the local news coverage for all our audiences.”
An independent audit of local news content will also be carried out as part of the scheme in order to identify potential crossover between the BBC and other organisations, which will help the corporation review and improve its linking and attribution of stories and sources.
NMA chairman Ashley Highfield said: “This groundbreaking partnership will enhance democracy at a local level by increasing and strengthening coverage of local authorities and public services, while maintaining the healthy competition between different news sources.”
“Local newspapers in print and digital have a unique and highly trusted relationship with the communities they serve. This agreement will enable the BBC to benefit from our first-class local journalism, and the local news sector to be fairly rewarded for its content within an appropriate and robust framework.”