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BBC local democracy reporting scheme set to be emulated overseas

BarracloughThe BBC has welcomed news that its local democracy reporting scheme, run with the regional press industry, is set to be emulated on the other side of the world.

A pilot of the scheme, which has seen around 150 journalists recruited to cover public bodies across the United Kingdom, is now set to be introduced in New Zealand.

Public service broadcaster Radio New Zealand and independent broadcast funding agency NZ on Air are working with the country’s Newspaper Publishers Association to recruit eight journalists, who will provide local democracy news to a wide array of media.

According to New Zealand news website Stuff, the NZ$1m pilot “aims to fill gaps in the reporting on local bodies and other publicly-funded organisations, mostly in the regions, brought about by significant decreases in reporting numbers in traditional media”.

Matthew Barraclough, pictured, head of the BBC’s local news partnerships, said: “We wish everyone involved in New Zealand the best of luck with their pilot.

“Many countries are facing similar challenges in their local news industries and we believe large scale collaboration can be an effective response.

“Just as the BBC has come together with the News Media Association and other organisations, RNZ has teamed up with the Newspaper Publishers Association.

“It will be very interesting to see how it works there and what the UK might learn from the NZ experience.”