Last month at an event in Birmingham more details were unveiled — and they didn’t make promising reading for hyperlocal publishers, as one of my students, Jane Haynes, reported:
“Instead of offering 150 separate contracts for each reporting post, the BBC has instead opted to “bundle up” the posts into larger zones, some stretching across adjoining counties.”
Haynes’s article goes in to more detail on the logistics of the scheme, including a more optimistic take from Matthew Abbott at the Centre for Community Journalism:
“As long as [a hyperlocal site] can partner with a bigger media organisation that can handle the employment practicalities, they can still bid for contracts.”
Earlier this month the Centre published an update saying that they have “succeeded in opening up the scheme to many more community news publications by ensuring anyone with a proven track record of contemporaneous public service reporting is now eligible to receive all content generated from the LDRS [Local Democracy Reporters].”
This is based on membership of a network established by the Centre for Community Journalism:
“Alongside our negotiations with the BBC, we have been working on establishing a representative body for the Independent community news sector.
“[A]ll members who join the network will agree to adhere to the Editor’s Code of Practice and will have access to a robust complaints procedure, which are the remaining criteria to be eligible to receive content from the NewsBank and the LDRS.”
The BBC’s planned Data Journalism Hub, which will offer 3 month secondments to a team based in Birmingham, will also be accessible “to those who match the criteria to receive content from the LDRS.”
Both projects begin later this year.
The BBC have now extended a call for feedback on their proposals from hyperlocal publishers, to Sunday 26th February.
Publishers are being asked to contact Matthew Barraclough at the BBC on firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Abbott at the C4CJ on Abbottm2@cardiff.ac.uk
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