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JPIMedia chief hails ‘ample evidence’ to back LDR scheme expansion

Jeremy CliffordA 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.”


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  • September 10, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Clifford “..has backed the idea of creating more journalism jobs under the taxpayer-funded scheme”

    Would he be so keen if the funded staff were allocated exclusively to the small, new independent publishers who are establishing themselves and growing their audiences and who need them more than the old brigade publishers who’ve lost their local readerships?

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  • September 10, 2019 at 12:27 pm


    There is nothing to stop the “new independent publishers” joining the LDR scheme. Some LDRs are based with these publishers already.

    Most of the reporters are just based out of the big publishers for HR reasons, they don’t actually work for them. All the copy is available to all the partners at the same time.

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  • September 10, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    The next step must be to put reporters back into courts.

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  • September 10, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I appreciate that Desker but the LDRs I am familiar with and located at one of the bigger publishers are seen by the public as employees of that group, something they’re more than happy to go along with as it gives added kudos as they’re now seen to have a higher local presence despite having jettisoned good staff to cut costs and save money with the first aspect to go being court and council reporting.

    In communities perception is reality and to allocate and base them with the new community publishers would be a big help where it’s needed the most and would benefit the LDRs in enabling them to see how a truly local news and advertising operation is being run.

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  • September 10, 2019 at 1:50 pm


    As LDRs work independently I don’t see how it matters who their boss is, most don’t even work in offices so they won’t be visible to communities regardless.

    The main barrier to smaller publishers may be that whilst the BBC pays wages of LDRs the host publisher is responsible for their expenses.

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  • September 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    But the big companies haven’t lost their readers @hzaebruh. They’ve got shrinking print sales, but growing online reader numbers. So from a value of money point of view, the BBC is better putting the reporters in newsrooms with bigger local audiences.

    Perhaps you’re proof that perception isn’t reality after all?

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  • September 10, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    So, the taxpayer funds the stories for JPI and it then installs paywalls for the taxpayer to read those stories. Who said digital was a bad idea!!!

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  • September 11, 2019 at 8:51 am

    That is a rather silly argument because all the LDR-produced stories are also available on the BBC website.

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  • September 11, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    The BBC were crazy to fall for this in the first place, So how much more public money is to be squandered on subsiding badly-managed and understaffed newspapers? The LDRs are simply producing material which staff journalists would have done in the past.

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