BBC opens Local News Partnership Scheme to BAME organisations

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The BBC’s local news partnership scheme has been opened up to news platforms aimed at ethnic minority audiences, having previously been focused on geographical areas.

The change has been agreed by the BBC and its lead partner, the News Media Association, which represents the local news industry.

The Local News Partnerships see the BBC fund local, public interest journalism across the UK and includes the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which sees 150 journalists reporting on the work of public bodies such as councils. Their journalism is then made available to the BBC and its partners to use.

Currently there more than 900 approved local news outlets signed up to the partnership – ranging from hyperlocal websites to established regional newspapers.

Now BAME publications – print, online, radio or TV – can apply to be a partner, meaning they will have access to the journalism produced by the Local Democracy Reporting Service and other benefits of being a partner.  

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Nations and Regions, said: “This change means media outlets that serve BAME communities, wherever they are located, can have access to our local news partnership.

“For them, it’s an exciting opportunity to receive a wealth of great local journalism. For us, it is the chance to ensure our journalism is seen by more people and to support a broader range of news platforms.

“We wanted to widen participation in our partnerships, so this change achieves that while maintaining the principal aims of the partnerships.”

Jeremy Clifford, chair of the News Media Association, added:  “We were very happy to work with the BBC to find new ways of extending the partnership to open the first class content supply to news outlets representing BAME groups. The more inclusive the partnership, the wider the reach of the content.”