Professor Steven Barnett, Professor of Media Communications, has written an article for British Journalism Review about the BBC’s funding of local reporters.
The article, which was written with journalist and Professor Roy Greenslade, discusses a scheme where the big three regional publishers Reach PLC, JPI Media and Newsquest, agreed that the BBC should spend some of its licence fee to fund reporters working within their newsrooms at a regional level.?
They wrote: “With tanks now firmly parked on the BBC lawn, and a hostile government clearly determined to impose swingeing cuts, high-level meetings took place between the BBC and the NMA to hammer out a deal. The result, announced with much fanfare in May 2016, was an annual ￡8million commitment by the BBC to fund 150 reporters who would be based in local newsrooms around the UK.?
“While the BBC insisted – and continues to insist – that this is a generic commitment from which any local journalism enterprise can benefit, the scheme essentially subsidises newsrooms of the big three regional groups which have continued to make their own (non-subsidised) journalists redundant.”