The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) has announced a partnership with NewsNow, the UK’s independent news discovery platform, to support a ‘new era’ in local news.

In recent years, many local papers have closed, consolidated or cut back their services. Local democracies are facing a troubling deficit. PINF and NewsNow are setting out to support communities in solving the problem. A pilot project will run in six locations around the UK’s four nations.

Emphatically, communities in six different locations will receive ‘Local News Plans’. These Plans will set out a shared vision for the future of public interest news in each area, and will include commitments from stakeholders including local politicians, business leaders, civil society organisations, funders and people with lived experience of relevant issues.

The State of Local News

“Local news in the UK is in a state of turmoil. Legacy newspaper publishers are under huge pressure, and emerging providers are struggling to compete for attention with social media. By working in six very different locations across the UK, we aim to support a new era in local news that truly serves communities.”

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director of PINF

The project is being led for PINF by media consultant Sameer Padania, with local ‘stewards’ supporting the planning process in each area. The stewards will identify local stakeholders, and invite these stakeholders to a workshop to create a Local News Plan for their area.

Moreover, PINF is hosting Local News Plan workshops this autumn in Bangor (Wales), Bristol, Folkestone, Glasgow, Manchester and Newry. The six resulting Plans will be hosted on a dedicated website. Policymakers and philanthropists will receive lessons from the project.

The first workshop will be held in Folkestone on Thursday 29 September 2022.

“We are delighted to be working with PINF on this important project. We know a healthy society needs a healthy news diet, yet when it comes to local news it sometimes feels like we’re on starvation rations. Sustainably funded public interest journalism is vital for healthy local democracies. Rather than parachuting in money or solutions, we believe that by getting people on the ground to talk to each other, communities can work out for themselves what they want from local news and how best to incentivise and support local providers to deliver it.”

Struan Bartlett, CEO of NewsNow

Adapting to Change

Undoubtedly, PINF and NewsNow expect an outcome of the project to be a Local News Plan template. This plan can be replicated and adapted to other localities, building support for public interest news. Indeed, PINF is increasing the prospects for sustainability for public interest news providers across the UK.

NewsNow has provided the funding for the project.

To find out more, and to register your interest in a Local News Plan for your area, visit https://www.publicinterestnews.org.uk/post/local-news-plans-…

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