Made TV, the station which won five local TV licences earlier this year, will be putting cameras into town halls to track local decision making following the recent change in the law.
As we reported earlier this month, new rules mean that journalists, bloggers and quite simply anyone with an interest in the business of their local council, can now film, tweet or otherwise report the decisions taking place.
Made TV was awarded licences for Leeds, Newcastle and Middlesbrough in the north as well in Cardiff and Bristol. CEO Jamie Conway told me the company ‘would undoubtedly be taking advantage of this change in the law’.
He said: “As a local broadcaster it’s our duty to get under the skin of local government and report on its failings and its successes. Allowing our cameras to attend council and full cabinet meetings will give us a first hand, new dimension on the inner workings of our local councils.
“With so many local authorities now being hit by significant budget cuts across the board, it’s even more important to show viewers the money mechanism, so they know why there are cuts, and in which areas. Made Television cameras will certainly film local council meetings where appropriate.”
It’s likely to be a lively space for reporting in the coming months with the opening up of town halls already being welcomed by some local newspaper publishers as well as the bloggers and independent publishers who actively campaigned for the changes. Johnston Press sent a camera along to a Hartlepool council planning meeting the day after the law came into effect and it’s expected that Leeds Trinity University will be dispatching students to create pooled material in that city.
Conway said it was the immediacy with which important local decisions could be relayed which was appealing.
He explained: “Where this new legislation will really make a difference, is being able to report instantly on decisions made by councillors and City Elected Mayors, rather than wait until meetings are over, and being able to show the moment in video, when local politicians vote through controversial projects, which will cause upset among residents – for instance a rise in council tax, decisions to allow planning applications for large supermarkets to build in independent shopping areas, and the introduction of schemes like residents parking zones. “
Made TV, whose corporate base is currently in London, will be moving its HQ to Leeds this autumn to the Leeds Media & Broadcasting Studios in Chapeltown.
There will be around 50 staff employed at the Leeds office.
Roughly half will be working in a central services capacity for Made overseeing HR, compliance, legal and other functions across the four stations with around 25 staff directly employed by Made in Leeds.