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Seven journalism jobs to be created with new independent launch

Huw MarshallThe co-founder of two projects that were closed by a regional publisher has launched a fresh bid to set up a new news service independently – with the aim of creating at least seven journalism jobs in the process.

Huw Marshall is currently fundraising for the launch of Talking Wales, a radio-based service that “focuses, in-depth, on Welsh politics and current affairs” with an estimated start date of early 2024.

Huw, pictured, previously ran the New Media Wales project which led to the launch of Newsquest titles The National Wales, a primarily English language paper and website, and Welsh language service Corgi.Cymru.

Both The National Wales and Corgi.Cymru closed last year, the former following an 18-month run and the latter after just five months in business.

It is hoped the new service will be run by a team of seven full-time journalists, supported by six technical, sales and administrative staff.

Huw aims to fund Talking Wales through subscriptions and the purchasing of shares in the company, and is about to complete incorporation as a Community Benefit Society – a type of cooperative that reinvests any profits for the benefit of the community it serves.

Speaking to HTFP, he said: “We want to build a service that people value and see the benefits beyond receiving Welsh public interest journalism for themselves, by having a mix of members who will have a say in the running of the company, subscribers and commercial partners offer a sustainable for future for news.

“We also know that audiences for news are changing and fragmenting across multiple platforms and sources. This is particularly the case amongst younger audiences, that’s why we’re developing a different approach to news. Making best use of podcasts, newsletters, digital radio and social media.

“Our focus will be on quality not quantity, picking up on the stories of the day and running with them as they develop and evolve and sharing those stories in a range of formats across an array of platforms.

“The launch date will be dependent on our fundraising efforts over the coming months. Incorporating as CBS isn’t as straightforward as setting up a limited company, we’ve taken time and care to ensure the business structure will work for the long term. We’ve been very fortunate to have been supported by Cwmpas Wales throughout the process.”

In a piece explaining the launch of Talking Wales, Huw wrote: “Talking Wales is a new national news service for Wales, focussing on public interest journalism at national, local, and hyperlocal levels.

“Its aim is to ensure Welsh citizens are kept well informed regarding the matters and issues that impact their daily lives. Delivering ‘real’ news in readily accessible formats across the range of platforms where audiences reside.

“Offering a genuinely fact-based service which will counter the often politically biased narratives published and shared by the UK press and media which continue to dominate in Wales.

“We are creating a new space for public interest news on the radio, providing an all-Wales alternative to the news outputs of BBC Radio 4, LBC, Times Radio and co. And delivering a service in Wales that focuses, in-depth, on Welsh politics and current affairs, something that is, sadly, currently lacking from broadcasters in Wales.

“We won’t use social media as platforms to drive traffic to our website, we will use them as they were intended to be used, as platforms for sharing content.

“Sharing our stories in those spaces making the best use of video and audio, ensuring the public in Wales understands easily what’s happening in Wales today.”

In a separate blog post, Huw explained how the planned radio service will work.

He wrote: “There are no dedicated Welsh talk radio stations, none that have news at the top of their agenda, none that dedicate an adequate amount of airtime to matters political and news in Wales. We haven’t got a 5 live, an LBC, TalkRadio or a Radio 4.

“It doesn’t have to be that way, we have the ability, talent and now the platforms that would allow us to create a national radio station for Wales, serving a mixture of live broadcasts – that would be available as podcasts immediately post transmission – and pre-recorded content and podcasts that would make up a full schedule.

“Broadcasting live during weekdays, morning, lunchtime and in the early evening and at weekends. The beauty of developing a service like this is that it can start small and expand as content and demand increase.

“The content won’t be restricted to just politics and current affairs, we want to create a space where Welsh culture, sport, history and a range of other topics can be discussed.

“We want to start producing pilot content, the type of content that we’ll be producing on a daily basis post-launch. We’ve created a fundraising page where you can help us with our day-to-day costs as we incorporate and set up our initial share issue.”