BBC looks to bloggers to boost local journalism

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by sarah
holdsworth David Holdsworth

The BBC is pushing on with plans to involve more ‘hyperlocal’ bloggers and community news providers online in its local journalism work and is calling for more local bloggers to get involved.

To date, the broadcaster has formed a Local Journalism Working Group, which included representatives from regional newspaper groups, academics and hyperlocal organisations in pilot areas including Leeds and the North East.

But today it announced plans to expand that work by involving bloggers from across the UK

The BBC says the aim of the proposals are to strengthen links between the BBC, hyperlocals and other established forms of local media, as well as directing BBC audiences to the best stories online and ensuring the right credit is given to external news sources.

Controller of BBC English Regions, David Holdsworth is discussing the proposals with Midlands based hyperlocal publishers today, but then will be seeking views on them from hyperlocal bloggers across the country.

He said: “The input of hyperlocal organisations to forums such as the BBC’s Local Journalism Working Group has proved invaluable in building a broader and more inclusive picture of the media landscape across the country.

“I’m now calling on hyperlocals to comment on these proposals so we can continue building our partnership and ensure their strongest stories can be showcased on the BBC website.”

The BBC proposals include:

  • Introducing an external linking system, currently being rolled out to all BBC website Local Live streams across the country, to hyperlocals and bloggers; ensuring their content is showcased and credited on the BBC website
  • Including hyperlocal providers in training and events as part of its media partnership work
  • Inviting hyperlocal bodies to be represented on the Local Journalism Working Group and other relevant panels
  • Ensuring all local BBC teams are aware of hyperlocals operating in their area
  • Promoting an updated register of hyperlocal sites, expected to be published at the end of the year
  • Engaging with partners from across the hyperlocal community and other external media to establish a Hyperlocal Forum to meet twice a year from November

The Forum will also work with other organisations including Nesta and the Carnegie Trust* to shape proposals.

The BBC is asking hyperlocal websites to respond to these proposals by 30 September and will publish a summary of responses in November. The full details for responses has just been published here.

*Disclosure: I am involved with the Carnegie Trust strand of this work at Talk About Local.

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