BBC reveals where the 146 Local Democracy Reporters will be based

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

The BBC has this morning announced where the first wave of Local Democracy Reporters will be based.

The 144 full-time and 2 part-time reporters are part of the Local News Partnerships scheme. 

Local media took part in a competitive bidding process to take on the reporters, who will cover council and public meetings around the country.

By region

North East 8 reporters across 3 organisations

North West 19 reporters across 5 organisations

Yorkshire & Lincolnshire 16 reporters across 5 organisations

Some of the publishers and broadcasters who will be taking on the reporters include Trinity Mirror (63), Newsquest (37), Johnston Press (30) and Manx Radio (1).

The organisations will receive funding from the BBC to cover employment costs, and, once recruited stories written by the journalists will be shared across more than 700 media outlets, who’ve signed up to the local news partnerships scheme.

“This is a major advance in the partnership which will significantly improve the reporting on councils and public institutions, leading to greater public accountability for our local politicians,” said the outgoing controller of BBC English Regions, David Holdsworth.

The BBC will be investing up to £8m in the partnership during the next 9 years as part of its Charter commitment.

This also includes a Shared Data Unit at BBC Birmingham and a facility, which will offer local news providers access to some regional BBC video and audio content.

“The ground-breaking Local News Partnership between the NMA and the BBC is now becoming a reality which will benefit the BBC, local media and, most importantly, local communities,” stated Ashley Highfield, chair of the News Media Association.

“The initiative has moved the whole relationship between the BBC and the local media sector from confrontation to collaboration, and key benefits will include 150 new journalists on the ground holding public institutions to account on behalf of their readers.”

The next step will be recruiting the journalists. A total of 150 will eventually be employed, once all the contracts have been awarded.