NCTJ Partners With Facebook And Local Publishers To Launch Community News Project

The National Council for the Training of Journalists and a number of regional news publishers will work together to recruit, train and qualify around 80 additional community journalists.

The Community News Project, funded by a $6 million – about £4.5 million – charitable donation by Facebook to the NCTJ, aims to support quality local journalism and improve the diversity of UK newsrooms.

The project aims to increase the creation, consumption and distribution of reliable and relevant community news, the NCTJ said in a press release. The scheme is a two-year pilot project with a range of publishers, including Reach, Newsquest, JPIMedia, Archant and Midland News Association.

Welcoming the project, Newsquest CEO, Henry Faure Walker said: “I’m really pleased we’ve reached agreement with Facebook for a pilot that will see additional and much needed support for important local journalism, administered by the NCTJ.

“This pilot certainly doesn’t solve the problem but we hope it will prove to be an important first step in a deeper, longer term and more collaborative relationship in finding a sustainable model for quality community journalism – something of course the Cairncross Review will report on soon, and we hope they will be bold in their recommendations – it would be good to see if Google will start to be much more supportive of the local news ecosystem than they have been to date.”

The project also aims to help improve the diversity of newsrooms, an issue which was highlighted in the NCTJ’s recent Journalists at Work 2018 report.

Journalists will be recruited from a range of backgrounds, with the aim of helping make newsrooms more diverse and inclusive. The NCTJ and the publishers will ensure that the recruits are properly trained and qualified in their community journalism roles.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities. We are very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified.”

More information will be made available in early 2019 when applications for the scheme will open.