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Publishers discover winners of new local democracy reporter contracts

Matthew Barraclough newPublishers have been told by the BBC whether they have been successful in their bids for the new local democracy reporter contracts.

A total of 118 contracts were put out to tender after the BBC announced the number of journalists employed under the scheme would increase from 150 to 165 from July this year.

The winning bidders were notified today, although the corporation has declined to make them public until the contracts are signed.

The contracts contain a maximum of three reporters, which were changed in an effort to encourage smaller news organisations to bid, and will be effective from July 2021 for three years.

Matthew Barraclough, pictured, editor of the BBC’s Local News Partnerships, said: “We had a number of different news organisations bid for local democracy reporting contracts for the first time during this process.

“We also had a real mix of news organisations, from some of the industry’s biggest names to local broadcasters.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the successful bidders over the coming years.”

The BBC has recommitted to the Local News Partnership, run in association with the News Media Association, until the end of its current Charter in 2027 and will invest up to £8m a year in the scheme.

Jeremy Clifford, chair of the NMA/BBC advisory panel and Archant chief content officer, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have absolutely seen the value of the local democracy reporters.

“We now enter an important new stage in the partnership with a slightly expanded service.

“I am looking forward to seeing the contracts distributed that will enable us to move forward and develop the service further.”

A full breakdown of which authorities will be covered by each contract can be found here.