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Local News Plans: Glasgow

The Glasgow Local News Plan meeting took place on Friday 4th November.

We’ve distilled the discussions into the report and description below, which was first shared with the participants themselves for feedback and input, and which is the starting point for the actual Local News Plan.

We would like to thank our dedicated local steward, journalist Eve Livingstone, our funders at NewsNow, and the strong and engaged group from across Glasgow’s civil society, funders, business community, and independent media that Eve brought together. PINF’s Director Jonathan Heawood facilitated the session.

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The people of Glasgow want to see local news that is locally owned and that tells the story of each of Glasgow’s many communities in a way that celebrates achievements and solutions whilst holding the powerful to account. In our Local News Plan workshop, a vision began to emerge of a future news ecosystem for Glasgow, in which professional journalists work closely with members of the community to create news that reflects the values of diversity, independence and trust.

There is particular interest in the potential of print and radio news, funded by a blend of members, local advertisers and philanthropists, to reach audiences who have been ignored by other parts of the media.



The workshop was held at the Kinning Park Complex in Glasgow on the morning of Friday 4 November 2022. 15 people attended the workshop.

The workshop began with an introduction from Jonathan Heawood, who invited participants to introduce themselves to each other in pairs, and to tell each other about their earliest memories of local news. Each pair shared some of their memories with the whole group. Participants who had grown up in other parts of the world – North and South America, for example – reflected on the different roles that local news plays in different cultures.

We then worked through a series of exercises, first looking at the present state of local news in Glasgow, then imagining a positive future for local news in the area, and finally making commitments towards this vision.

The present state of local news


In this section, participants were asked to work in small groups on three questions:

  1. What do you like about local news in your area?

  2. What’s not working for you?

  3. What’s missing?

Each group generated answers to these questions and were then asked to write one answer on a post-it note.

Participants said they appreciated the ‘nosey neighbour’ aspect of local news, with accessible updates about what’s going on in the area. Some participants said that they liked the diversity of local media, whilst others said that the lack of diversity was a problem. This suggests that diversity is important, and that participants value diversity where they find it, and want to see more of it across local media.

Participants said they didn’t like the ‘sensationalist’ tone of some local media, which they described as ‘clickbait’. They were also concerned that there aren’t enough resources for local journalism or enough journalists to tell the stories. As a result, they felt that local news is not ‘local’ enough, with a lack of ‘actual community news’. Some participants would like to see an online ‘hub’, or aggregator, that would bring together all sources of local news.

The future of local news


In the next section, we asked participants to imagine a future in which local news provision has significantly improved. For this exercise, the participants were asked to work in groups on the following questions about local news in 2027:

  1. What stories are being told by local news in 2027?

  2. Whose voices are being heard in local news in 2027?

  3. How is local news in 2027 improving your life?

  4. How is local news in 2027 improving Glasgow?

Some themes emerged strongly across the groups.

  • All groups called for more ‘positive’ or ‘solutions-based’ journalism

  • All groups wanted to see more diversity in the voices and stories covered

  • All groups wanted to see a ‘co-creational’ approach to local media, where people with lived experience are directly involved in telling their own stories, and journalists play a role as ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘curators’, fact-checking and verifying content

  • All groups wanted to see more news that brings real benefits – from traffic news which reduces journey times to democratic news which drives civic engagement

  • Most groups wanted to see local media creating connections and bringing people together – ‘physically, not just metaphorically/digitally’

  • Some groups wanted to see local media driving accountability – ‘in a way that is meaningful but not arbitrary’

Formats and funding


In the penultimate session, we led an open discussion about people’s preferred formats for local news and the strengths and weaknesses of different funding models. Some themes emerged from this discussion.

  • Print formats can still play an important role because:

    • Many people in Glasgow suffer from digital exclusion

    • Print products can drive trust

    • Print products can help build connections between distributors and audiences

    • Print products can look and feel good, leading to stronger audience engagement and loyalty, and building community pride

  • Broadcasting formats (particularly radio) can also connect with audiences who aren’t online

  • Digital formats have the benefit of being tailored to people’s interests, but this can mean that different audiences are siloed, and the lack of trust in online influencers means that there is still a need for professional journalists to fact-check and verify their content

  • Non-profit ownership models for local news were popular because they allow any proceeds to be reinvested, rather than siphoned off for shareholders outside the area

  • Membership models of funding local news were popular, because they help news providers to reach everyone in the community – including those who can’t pay (unlike subscription models, where only those who pay can see the content)

  • Advertising models also allow news providers to reach everyone in the community (e.g., through a free newspaper), and some local advertising is itself of interest to the community, but advertisers might try exert undue influence over editorial independence

  • Philanthropic models can work in some contexts, but they need to protect editorial independence with a mix of different funders.



In the final part of the morning, we asked participants what they could do to advance their vision for the future of local news in their area. Several participants made a commitment to pay or keep paying for ‘quality local news’. Other participants made commitments to ‘share more learnings from community news to empower other start-ups’ or enable local people to ‘join and contribute’ to local news or ‘make clear the value of local news to communities and therefore funders.’

Finally, we asked participants to place themselves on a spectrum of optimism, where the people at one end of the spectrum were very optimistic about the future of local news in Glasgow, and the people at the other end were very pessimistic. Everyone in the group placed themselves on the optimistic side of the spectrum.

Next steps


The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) would like to build on the exciting vision that emerged at the workshop. With further funding, we could bring local news innovators together with donors and investors to develop a sustainable ecosystem for local news. We could also continue the conversations that began at the workshop, to make sure local news is meeting the needs of the community.

NewsNow generously provided the funding for this project.

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