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Read this: Making the news "less London"

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Making the news "less London"…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hi and hello to tell the story of the UK more fairly and equitably there needs to be more reporting voices outside London that seems to be the journalistic mood of the moment the BBC in March announced plans to shift Focus from the capital in a commitment to better reflect represent and serve all parts of the country and when GB news launch did promise new voice from every part of the country and to quote reach out to non-metropolitan audiences beyond London and engage them in our national conversation the impact of covid extension rebellion or black lives matter those stories are better told if everyone has an equal stake in them irrespective of where they live.

So what does it mean to have a non lunch?

Bias when your reporting the news the market for producing local news is as tough as it's ever been so how do you do it today we hear from for people about their new approaches to reporting across the you let me introduce them to you Lorna willis's in Norwich and has been CEO of the regional and local news publisher archant since March Nick Mitchell is in Edinburgh and is editor of new website National World beside of national news by regional reporters is involved in a series of new city websites and his previously from The Scotsman Ifan Morgan Jones is in back and in 2017 founded and english-language news side in Wales and Shazia Ali is a journalist leading a new initiative the People's newsroom in Swansea promoting community LED journalism introduction to each of you practice a story that's currently at the top of your respective news agendas delivered in a a short and pick the way.

Lord Willis what's the top of your agenda in Norwich just now have three hospitals waiting list at the moment locally waiting waiting this pre-coded.

We had 93 people waiting for non-essential operations that now gone up to 12008 so we've got three hospitals on the brink as we could say that national world.

Would you concentrating on yes or top story the moment is actually about the agency act which the very old piece of legislation but which is been found that thousands of people still being under the legislation which the housing secretary actually said 6 months ago should be abolished as some data.

Which has been serviced today on that one and something.

You've also got the Yorkshire Bank see video reports with a street artist who is making a name for himself in Leeds solicitor a couple of things for us for you.

What was Top of the agenda well at the moment.

It's the matter that the Welsh government side devices to a clean classrooms in Wales and dirty dusty and not just from from you as well and Shazia for you and The Newsroom is still very much in the making but what what what are you concentrating on despite that explore how they my grandson's access the vaccine we've seen any information about how people don't need proof of address or an ID to register at GP surgeries near Stubbington barriers and we need that information to get the

Ouija left from those Communities to advocate for that access ok, so that's a flavour of my for guests and the stories.

They're looking at Lorna tell us a little bit more about the titles in the regions that you cover newspaper titles titles.

We cover, East Anglia South West Herts and Cambs and we have a fuse local titles in London and if there is london-centric view in the media world how much damage do you say that does to what you're trying to do an indeed to the coverage of the UK as effectively as could be done I think in terms of the National coverage.

Mentioned the NHS is on I need stories, so we've talked about the NHS over the last 18 months when we talk about the NHS we talk about our friends are family on Neighbours we talk about 12000 people impacted that we know so we talk about a story in a local newspaper.

I think a wonderful wonderful Quotemehappy Merida recently was actually really like local news is because we will learn to all three things we didn't know about the community and have a national agenda is impacting us we do know so brings it to life and I think more than that it allows people to have that voice.

I think damage is too far but I think the challenges with the local community still there been heard because on your website you talk very much about building Communities and you would argue that regional print online journalism plays a big part in bed, absolutely.

But BBC making a commitment particularly to local news.

I think that's really a challenge in terms of look at the BBC impartiality and clause is very difficult for them to do what we do locally our job is to camp all these local Communities and fight for them.

I don't believe you can do that when impartiality an example about as again and muscle tone up local hospitals.

We have a hospital in King's Lynn and as it's been held up by the £200.

You know we can pay mean to say that hospital and Away that the BBC will never be able to bring that to lie flat national agenda, so while those national stories in our job is to really translate.

There's a local level and you know there's local Communities have a voice and the campaign for them a bit more about National world now.

This is the company that was at the Board out jpi media at the end of last year so again a little bit like Lorna give us a sense of the titles that are currently in your portfolio.

Yes, obviously historic Johnston Press and PLC at The Turn Of The Year 150 newspaper titles across the UK that we operate from The Scotsman to the Yorkshire Post to the Pocklington post a real range of national and local titles and interesting thing with what we've done this year since March is tried to take her a new approach with digital first digital only publication international world was the first of those the launch in late, March the 105 months in months and we're getting to the stage now where we're watching new city bronzer.

I'm going to make your cities in the UK so yeah that there is a lot of competition in in the regional Media but I think it's an exciting time trying to do things differently.

Want to talk more about those City brands in the moment but with the launch of national my understanding of that is that it's a national news site, but the contributors are regional reporters.

So how does change the flavour of what you're telling people in Edinburgh Midlands Yorkshire cross-country, so it's not really weak of original stories.

We do pick up on YouTube stories the national news agenda, but I think you're doing a slightly different weed, you know we're not in London we're not in that bubble in London I think the fact that we are part of the gpi network as well gives us a bit more of a sense of what's going on across the country and their shoes that people really care about as we have a really strong data and investigations team which was recently shortlisted for the Prophecy

That's something.

I think we can use effectively when we're looking at regional inequality so one of the key things for us is really trying to expose examples of funding inequalities for are you know whether it's issues with leveling up we received ulas constant rhetoric of leveling up at the moment.

So we really want to try and sort of get behind the rhetoric but I just buy your website challenging institutions Cocoon in the world from grandeur of the capital political and cultural including the media that dictate to the other parts of the nation that that's that's a pretty strong charge.

Nothing is not bought.

I think that that is a really confident approach to take and it's something that you like it comes across the stories that we we highlight and I think the investigative side of things is really Keith us and as a data journalism is something which is a

Effective tool for us just to expose the facts behind some of the politicians are saying even morgan-jones again with yours reset up in 2017 again was there a frustration of London centricity in your mind when this was devised interested.

I was just an awareness that in Wales we had had since 1999 national policies and set up in 1999 the median Wales remained relatively early.

We can always been the population in Wales there's not much of a base and an impact on the strength of the commercial Media in particular, and I was there was a feeling in.

I think the BBC did Andy Cole in 2014 and discovered for instance half the population did not know what that time that the health service in Wales devolved to Wales in particular as being a democratic deficit where we had an under informed them a public Wales and then we decided to set up this news website in order to bring perhaps a Welsh politics needs to them in the more accessible and interesting.

I'm in it mention the pandemic and moment ago the pandemic from the point of view of what you're doing.

I'm guessing is that because the UK as a whole got much more of a sense of the devolved powers of certainly Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales by each country was looking after its own Healthcare up to a point and we saw for example mark drakeford on National Television much more than we would have done normally did that make a difference to the way people responding to what you were.

Clear with an explosion of interest in an hour coverage m2002 this moment and I think that's that's been a direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

I think and I don't think anyone would say that pandemic has been positive things but I think that certainly wants to the lining that has come out of it has been the fact that there's been much more interesting in inreach.

How much do the sentiments that you've heard from the 3 other guests at tap into some of the things that you're looking to do they do yes, there's something slightly different but hours so the people to Newsroom was started by the bureau of investigative journalism, so that was an initiative to support the Startup and the same.

Community journalism project one of which I'm running care in Swansea on behalf of eastwells to they are the ethnic minority Youth and Community support team and be supported myriad of different ethnic and Leanne across Wales silly idea behind our Newsroom is to tell our own stories is a newsagent built for and buy as a minority Communities and it's shaping in a way that saves ass and respect us and I want to talk to you a little bit later on about what's driving there because I think if you look back to your own consumption of the media in the past you would say doesn't feel as if it needs told your story as much as it should have done and this is a chance for you to to change that Lorna Archer was brought by a walk by private equity firm last and now you're looking to the business around but you FaceTime times before that, didn't you?

You know language that they were here and regional press been in Crisis is some way off the Mark I think that it had been on a directory for the previous till 3 years in terms of the level of innovation and that we've been trying with being hit I'm struggling with a very heavy pension deficit as many other businesses, but I think that this business has been showing so so two years ago.

We started working very closely with Google and actually on one hand of course you know there's a pension deficit sunny.

What have you started working Google we have some money in the bank to invest and be given a space to innovate and as a result that project built the most advanced infrastructure in terms of UK media and excited company launching out over the next 18 months so so just a hard times as we've had you know everybody had a story to tell him.

It's been horrendous forever.

Actually, no actually I think outside of the industry people looking and think we're having his stuff inside industry Ltd we work that she's not telling everyday, so yeah challenging but extremely exciting but some jobs to go in the absolutely we in in terms of that.

You know that the business, but you know the older more established paper titles and you have many in your stable how much do they still matter when people are finding so many other sources of news the younger people that's a great question if I spoke to my niece who's 18 should tell me that you send me David's.

I didn't matter at all if I spoke to my parents off.

I spoke to my colleagues are all my age.

So to various parts of our community the newspaper I don't have my brands are absolutely critical you know remember we still have to have broadband service the only way which particular people felt connected was through the printed newspaper so important or Communities answer to keep delivery notes service that broadband.

What is interesting you find you mentioned actually before we came on here.

That's a factor for you particular area such as possible because the national legal services in Wales in the past was the mountainous landscape.

National networking possible for the first time I think you mentioned your city websites give us a brief flavour of those lunchtime for recently sold Glasgow World Manchester World Liverpool world in Newcastle world and tomorrow would be London world gone live so other ways in discussing the you're allowed to do London world yeah.

Yeah, we're moving into that territory.

So that's going out tomorrow followed by Birmingham and more further down the line so it's been busy busy time for the financing of those how does that work so we treating you new rules with created 45 year olds commercial side is obviously something with developing just now.

I think the longer term strategy around that is really trying to look at strategic partnerships in the cities really trying to make some some connections with partners bluechip partners with the most cities.

A move away slightly from the programmatic advertising marketing and more reliant on things like video really high quality sponsored content the more relevant.

I would say commercial site.

So you're constantly having to innovate and rethink when it comes to where the money is coming from exactly agree with the saying innovation is really vibrant within the regional Media I think it would be wrong to assume that there's something at the nationals and we will concentrate elevate podcast with video all those things long-term storytelling and interactive content so is the range for an event for you the funding of me, how does that work?

Well, then but you decide to do because we were setting up the media business from scratch was to set up a not for profit company so that any profit we did may make went straight into the company and subscribe and service so we get from the council which has been a great help, but the people who want to see business succeed at the moment.

So if you keep it good and you keep it relevant in Their Eyes your hope is that they will continue to put their hands in their pockets because 15000 people just giving you to cancel Anthony's got enough to employ your whole stable.

National news service in the past so I think I know that we've seen that the markets to your project and the driving Force behind it I hinted at this moment ago the way you consume the media as you were growing up was that a source of frustration sometimes because you didn't think you were being able to access some of the stories that you should be able to read definitely just realise it so the People's Museum does have a particular Focus to save people that were marginalized perhaps by the media and I've got some that's of course.

I'm Welsh but I want to have a south Asian background in the background background.

I'm going up I did feel that the command use either either underrepresented but also misrepresented times of distortion of the identities that I know and I understand so yeah, I did feel that was damaging for myself and damaging for my Communities and even now.

I feel like that damage is very old person still continuing.

And that's why study journalism and why I became a look of a quarter in Swansea and I focused on those stories about the amazing Communities exist here.

I love the feedback.

We had was that we wouldn't often the TV on TV we weren't me when seeing the stories that we felt were important press that made us feel period that give us a sentence validation and also how will the People's news as a concept continue the work.

You've just described.

I think it will it is ultimate your response to what I can eat each of said they want they want me only story thinking to tell their own stories.

They wouldn't control the narrative in a way that tells us Joyce authentically sincerely and away they respected and a way that we feel valued and it's is a direct Response to all the Living experiences that we we talk about Amy we feel and what stage are you at with it at the moment product design stage at the moment so we are finding out how.

Audience confuse me as well.

They want to consume news and I can get all of that market research and deep userneeds mapping that's so important for the future of the news industry because that's how we ensure sustainable and where does it go potentially mini you are in Swansea and you've described the project as but where else could go if it works well.

This is a pilot project here in Swansea weather East Wales and we know that the Bureau are planning to scale this work and replicate that photo across the UK and support people to create their own local news rooms next year and again will rely on funding from those who read it consumer believe in it perhaps but I know that in our research now.

We're just trying to explore how that will work and just respond to be bothered.

I know that our business model will be response to our audiences needs.

I wanted to go back to you with your academic hat on for a moment because we've we've talked so far about.

London and regional journalism and how its developing in so many different ways how well-placed does it then look to you to hold power account because that's clearly a key element of what journalism wherever it is in the country should be doing I think it's extremely important that we have a bottom up one of the night.

I think it doesn't help our two pounds away.

That is particularly useful perhaps two people in other parts of the UK so I think that one of the important things we can do by the is decentralized leveling up.

The journalism in different parts of the UK as well as the stories and represent the needs of people in different parts of UK and I think that's what I think it's what's and some of the other services discussed yesterday as well that the regional elements are holding holding power to an important factor for you to yeah.

I think it's really good point of leveling up the industry as well as wider Society I think that's something.

It's always talk to me about the media is the sense that you have to go to London to make it and hopefully projects like this like you opening up opportunities across across the country people from all backgrounds and not just people who can afford to spend some time in London internship, so really trying to open up.

UK opening up as well for job opportunities wherever you are in the UK you would argue the industry so many vacancies just now in a lot of movement and I think that's really healthy as a reflection of the fact that you know companies are being a little bit bouldering now as publishers as we've over and that does a new opportunities and I think one of the things that we launched this week is an apprentice program and it's early days, but really looking forward to bringing new people through full industry training and people from bathrooms that again not been as well represented in the past so I think a lot of a lot more opportunities.

It's not perfect but we're getting there lonely you mention your relationship with Google earlier on to some social media might be seen as a potential.

Rival a problem for some of the work that you're doing but you don't see it that way and I think I think the first thing is to differentiate when we talk by Silicon Valley to differentiate between search engines and social media so I think I think as an industry, you know yourself so I can get past that so the reason I'm ready to be around Google is that they came to the table before this got noisy and they came to and you know Facebook Instagram Snapchat engagements and regional level Google come to our business.

They've got to know our business and micro-level and they asked they didn't come in and say you're doing it wrong with this was going to do something Technic sympathize with this.

There's a little arrogant.

Well, you know they're just not doing a good job bloody excellent job and what Google did was give us a space to breathe.

It's ok.

You've got some amazing Talent is business going and briefly because you've literally got s a program left does that provide you with the sustainable financial platform to build on it will do so we going to the news experiment so it will be in terms of either side.

So yes along with the other initiatives report into the business around working with businesses.


Well time is up, but thank you all for taking part.

Thank you to all of my guests and Nick Mitchell editor of National in Edinburgh if I Morgan Jones founder and editor of leader in Bangor University law Willis CEO of archant in Norwich and Shazia Ali leader of the people's Newsroom initiative in Swansea thank you to all of you at the media show.

At the same time next week.

So thank you very much for listening and goodbye.

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