A regional editorial chief says there is now “ample evidence” to support an expansion of the BBC local democracy reporting service.
JPIMedia editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford, pictured, has backed the idea of creating more journalism jobs under the taxpayer-funded scheme, which sees around 150 reporters cover local authorities across the country under the employ of regional press groups.
Jeremy’s call comes after the service revealed it generated 3,500 stories in a single week, with 98pc of them being used by at least one partner in the scheme.
The research also found that news outlets that use the LDRS gave it a ‘satisfaction’ score of 75pc.
A review led by Dame Frances Cairncross into the future of news provision in the UK recommended in February that the scheme be expanded.
In response to the LDRS research, Jeremy, who is also chair of the NMA/BBC advisory panel, said: “The results of this survey show that the Local News Partnership is generating significant amounts of local public interest journalism which publishers and broadcasters want to use for their audiences.
“The scheme has been an outstanding example of effective partnership.
“We believe there is ample evidence to support the recommendation by the Cairncross Review for this service to be expanded with more journalists reporting more widely and deeply into the affairs of public institutions.”
For the research, all partners were asked to record all the stories they used from the scheme between 3 June and 9 June.
The 3,500 published or broadcast items were created from 1,350 individual stories filed by LDRs.
The report found that three-quarters of the stories were used as major items, which were used as print page leads or top-three items online or in broadcast bulletins or lead items. Lead items were defined as front page print articles or the top item on a website or broadcast bulletin.
The study found that 52pc of the stories were used online, 37pc in print and 11pc on TV and radio.
Matthew Barraclough, head of the Local News Partnerships, said: “The research confirmed that 98pc of all content produced by LDRS was used by at least one partner, and that the majority of content was used as either a lead or major item.
“The service was created to support public service reporting and sustain local democracy.
“It is pleasing to see that stories created by local democracy reporters are being used in such volume by news partners across England, Scotland and Wales.”