JesmondLocal passes first stage of BBC local democracy reporting bid process
JesmondLocal has passed the first stage of a process to invest in news reporting on local democracy run by the BBC.
— Helen Pidd (@helenpidd) July 6, 2017
The entirely volunteer-run site is one of 15 hyperlocal news websites and publications to qualify to bid to be part of a new network of 150 local democracy reporters, embedded in the local community, and paid for by the BBC.
The BBC Local News Partnership will invest £8 million a year to fund the 150 reporters, who will report stories that can then be used by the BBC and local news outlets in the commercial sector.
Publications such as JesmondLocal had to apply to the BBC to be registered as a “qualifying news organisation”, in order to be in the running to bid to be one of the 150 local democracy reporters.
That JesmondLocal has passed the first stage of the process means that the BBC felt the site met the criteria of “a local news service (of any size or type) mak[ing] quality public service journalism”, as outlined by Matthew Barraclough, editor of the BBC Journalism Working Group, on announcing the scheme.
JesmondLocal reporters provide local democracy reporting by regularly live-blogging council ward meetings in Jesmond, hosting political hustings, and engaging in journalism campaigns that reflect the views and concerns of the local community.
The site also regularly tests new methods of reporting news; as well as regular text content, video and audio, this year’s cohort of reporters have launched a Snapchat account to report events around Newcastle.
As a JesmondLocal alumni and sometime-troubler of meetings, this is very exciting. https://t.co/fuyoQckZAs
— Sean Seddon (@seddonnews) July 6, 2017
JesmondLocal will now be able to apply to provide one of the salaried local democracy reporter jobs to the scheme, with second round applications expected to open in July, according to the Centre for Community Journalism.
Alumni of the site, which is run by professional journalists volunteering their time to mentor and train student volunteer journalists, now work for the BBC World Service, BBC Newcastle, The Telegraph, the Made In… network of local television channels, Trinity Mirror newspapers, and a BAFTA-nominated film production company specialising in factual documentaries.