BBC consultation: hyperlocal and community publishers invited to respond
On the back of our report in May regarding the BBC strengthening links with local publishers, this week the corporation has announced its formal commitment to supporting hyperlocal services. As part of this commitment, the BBC has opened a consultation and is inviting hyperlocal publishers to respond.
Since September last year Nesta and Carnegie Trust UK have been instrumental in encouraging the BBC to include hyperlocal publishers in a number of innovative activities. We see the BBC’s formal commitment to some of these initial activities as being a positive next step. The proposals should help alleviate some of the challenges that publishers face in distributing content, and help audiences discover more local, independently produced news and information.
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 work with organisations including Nesta and Carnegie Trust UK to shape the proposals.
BBC controller of English regions, David Holdsworth, has written a blog welcoming the role that hyperlocal services play within the national news landscape:
“The BBC is certainly not hyperlocal or anywhere near it, and we have no hyperlocal ambitions for our news services.
“As Controller of BBC English Regions I am personally committed to supporting a healthy local news sector, with a plurality of media outlets that offer a diverse range of views.
“The growth in numbers of community news providers - often the closest source of information to their audience - should be properly reflected in these conversations. I believe their role in connecting to local audiences is crucial to the BBC's understanding of the changing ways audiences consume and engage with news and information in their local area.
“The aim of these proposals is 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.”
David is inviting community journalists and bloggers from across England* to take part in the consultation of the above proposals. Send your responses by 30 September to [email protected].
*Hyperlocal publishers from Scotland and Wales can also take part in the consultation, however, the proposals at this stage will be rolled out initially in England. The Centre for Community Journalism at Cardiff University is working with BBC Wales to adopt a similar approach. Responses to the consultation from Wales will be used to feed into this.