Carnegie UK Trust launches competition to improve local news reporting

January 10, 2013

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Local commercial media and civil organisations can apply
Applications now open

Carnegie UK Trust has launched a new £50,000 competition to help develop innovative ways of producing local news under a new project called ‘Neighbourhood News’.

Established to help the Trust explore how to support more accessible and diverse local news for citizens, Neighbourhood News places local media at the heart of communities.

The competition is open to applications from local commercial media and civil society organisations to deliver services within the UK or Republic of Ireland. Applications must provide evidence of an unmet need for news by the local community and be accessible and convenient for the target audience.

Five Carnegie Partner projects will be supported with £10,000 to deliver a local news project in a clearly defined geographical area. In return for funding support, Partner organisations will be required to participate in an external evaluation of their new local news project – so that their experiences and learning can be shared with policymakers, practitioners and funders across the UK and Ireland.

Martyn Evans, Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust explains more. He said: “Over the last decade, the face of journalism has changed hugely, with much of the content we now read coming from online sources, from online newspapers, to Twitter and Facebook. The commercial impacts have been huge, so much so that in 2011, we saw thirty-one weekly newspapers across England, Scotland and Wales cease trading.

“However, on the flip side, it has been found* that communities want to see coverage of current events in their area maintained, or increased. Social media has also played a huge part in providing access to information and debate.

“High quality local news is essential to providing community cohesion and social wellbeing, but also to providing a home for coverage on the work of local services, from Councils, to the NHS.  Our hope is that this new project will provide us with a basis towards finding out what drives excellent local news, what encourages it, and most importantly, what ensures its longevity.”

The deadline for applications will be in early March. An external Advisory Group will then choose the successful applications.

Deborah Fox, Nesta’s Destination Local programme manager and Neighbourhood News Advisory Group member said: “Technology continues to open up vast opportunities for local and community news services. With mobile consumption increasing, now is the time to experiment and develop the next generation of local media services.

“The challenge lies in creating an offering that is diverse, yet sustainable, offering engaging content and genuine public value. We hope that the Neighbourhood News competition will uncover innovative approaches to delivering local news services that benefit the entire sector as well as our local communities.”

The Carnegie UK Trust has a long-standing interest in the relationship between the media, civil society and democracy, stretching back to the 1940s. Most recently, the Trust published a report revealing where the nation sits on media ethics ahead of the Leveson report being published.

For more information please visit the project page here.