NCTJ Community News Project Welcomes 14 New Publishers

The National Council for the Training of Journalists announced on Tuesday that 14 new publishers, covering 18 communities, would be joining the Community News Project, following on from recent news that Meta were expanding the scheme with a further £6 million funding.

The new publishers joined after a tender process, in which they were asked to demonstrate how a Community News Project reporter would engage a currently underserved community and/or location and the support they could offer in the newsroom.

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said: “This brilliant project continues to be a success story for the industry thanks to Meta’s on-going investment and the support of the publishers involved in the scheme.

“It already had diversity at its core with more than 60 per cent of the reporters coming from under-represented backgrounds to report on 80 previously underserved communities.

“With a welcome increase in funding and 23 wide-ranging news media partners now covering 100 communities, we have an even more diverse range of publishers involved in the scheme who are as committed as we are to the sustainability of quality, trusted local news journalism.

“We had the challenge of making sure the funding goes where it will be effective so it had to be a rigorous tender process, which involved some tough decisions. Those who were successful put forward the best proposals for recruiting, training and qualifying people who will benefit their communities.”

Scott Wood, managing director at Tindle Newspapers, said: “We know how important truly local news is, as our company has lived by that mantra for many years. Being part of, participating in and caring about the communities that we serve is at the very heart of what we do.  

“This scheme enables our company to employ more journalists and increase our truly local coverage, while also sustaining our aim to ensure that small communities stay connected and remain informed.”

Jeremy Condliffe, editor of the Congleton Chronicle, said: “It was fantastic to learn that we had been selected for the project.

“As a small weekly newspaper, we have been the first stage in many young people’s careers but like many small businesses we have been hit hard by the pandemic, as have the businesses who advertise with us.

“This funding will help us to offer a start in the industry to a deserving young reporter, and I am excited to see who we recruit. I would like to thank the NCTJ and Meta for the funding.”

The project was launched in 2019 as a partnership between the NCTJ, Meta and nine regional news publishers, which aimed to support local journalism and improve the diversity of UK newsrooms.

The new publishers who will join the project are Argyll Media, Brighton and Hove News, Iliffe Media, Caerphilly Media, DC Thomson, DNG Media, Congleton Chronicle, Higgs Group, Highland News and Media, Social Spider, Southwark Newspapers, Stratford News and Media, Tindle Newspapers and the Wokingham Paper.