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Local titles win thousands of pounds to aid council and court coverage

Dawn BowdenSeven local news titles will receive grants of up to £8,000 to help their coverage of councils and courts.

The Welsh Government has announced the initial recipients to benefit from its six-figure Public Interest Journalism Fund.

The first round of grants will go to Caerphilly Observer, Cwmbran Life,, Llanelli Online, My Welshpool, and Welsh language site Golwg 360.

As well as court and local authority coverage, the cash will be used to fund “increased local news gathering by taking a news van to community locations, increasing focus on local issues and piloting more video content to engage younger people”.

The grant is being facilitated by Ping! News, a community interest company set up to support sustainability in the independent community news sector which run by the Independent Community News Network and Bristol-based developer Omni Digital.

ICNN deputy director Matt Abbott, pictured, said: “We are delighted to be able to help support the Welsh independent news sector and the vital work it does.

“Independent journalism is essential for serving underrepresented communities and for adding much-needed plurality to the welsh media eco-system.

“These seven successful grantees will deliver a range of diverse projects aimed at increasing the provision of public interest news in Wales and we are excited to see the impact they make.”

The £100,000 funding pot is also sustaining two other funding threads – one aimed at new entrants, which is currently underway, and the other an emergency funding pot for existing publishers.

Dawn Bowden, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “A robust and independent media is a vital pillar of a healthy democracy, and local community news is an important part of that.

“I am delighted to see the first recipients of the Welsh Public Interest Journalism Fund being announced and excited to see their impact.

“I urge other publishers to apply for funding and join this exciting new chapter in community news.”