Local News Plans: The Project
At the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF), we believe that everyone in the UK should benefit from public interest news that speaks to them, for them and with them.
In order to strengthen public interest news in local communities, we conceived – in collaboration with NewsNow, the UK's independent news discovery platform – a project to produce dedicated ‘Local News Plans’ for six locations around the UK.
Between September 2022 and January 2023, we worked in Bangor, Bristol, Folkestone, Glasgow, Manchester and Newry, finding out what people in each area want from local news, and how to achieve this.
We spoke to local news providers, businesses, community groups, councillors and others, to understand how local news can become more relevant and sustainable.
We found that:
People believe that local news should be truly local. They don’t want ‘cookie-cutter’ local news, where the same stories are published in different places. They want news that truly reflects their area in all its character and complexity.
Despite their passion and commitment, local news providers are struggling to meet this need. Commercial providers are chasing page views, whilst independent providers are burning themselves out with long hours and low pay.
Local people are keen to support new funding models for local news. They recognise that old funding models have been disrupted, and they believe that, in many places, new funding can be found for truly local news.
These findings confirm the scale of the challenge facing local news across the UK, but they also contain the seeds of a new approach to funding local news, which we will set out in a final report on the project, to be published in March 2023.
Sameer Padania led the project on behalf of PINF, working with local stewards in each area to support the planning process. The six stewards identified local stakeholders and invited these stakeholders to a workshop to create a Local News Plan for their area.
Sameer Padania and Jonathan Heawood of PINF facilitated the workshops and drafted the Local News Plans, which were shared with local communities for feedback before being published on the PINF website.
NewsNow generously provided the funding for this project.
To find out more, and to register your interest in a Local News Plan for your area, please contact PINF.