The BBC is creating a new network of more than 100 reporters as part of a “major investment” in local journalism.
The corporation has announced a series of plans which it says will put local news “right to the heart” of its online portfolio as part of a wider blueprint, described as its “biggest transformation in decades”, that will also see more journalists moved away from London.
The BBC says the network of digital community journalists will help it to cover some of the UK’s “most under-served communities”, while it is also to create up to six new peak-time BBC local radio services – following recent trials in Bradford, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
The corporation has also announced plans to relocate five of its new story teams away from London – with the climate and science team moving to Cardiff, the technology team to Glasgow, the learning and identity and part of the new UK insight team to Leeds and the business and Long Form audio teams to Salford.
The BBC has pledged to spend an extra £700m cumulatively outside of London by 2028 as part of the project, which will create 600 new jobs in total and see a further 400 moved away from the capital.
BBC director-general Tim Davie, pictured, told staff this morning: “We want to transform the quality and depth of our online reporting across the regions, with a new network of over 100 digital reporters to bring us closer to some of the UK’s most under-served communities.
“We will add up to six new peak-time BBC local radio opt-outs in communities such as Bradford, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
“We’re going to move local news and content right to the heart of our online portfolio.
“Front and centre – not hidden away – across BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport and BBC Sounds.”
Newsbeat, the Asian Network news team and parts of the BBC’s data team will also be relocated to Birmingham “as part of an exciting local plan for the region which includes the creation of a new, vibrant production hub”.
Mr Davie said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC. These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent.
“Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the UK’s culture, democracy and creativity for almost a century – has helped inform, educate and entertain all four Nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history.
“Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the UK.”