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Trinity Mirror’s (LSE: TNI) Media Wales division is one of five organisations to bid for a £600,000 three-year public grant with which to launch a Welsh-language news website, according to HTFP. Media startup Dyddiol Cyf announced its highly ambitious plans to launch a daily Welsh paper and website, Y Byd, with 24 staff way back in 2006. But the partly donation-funded project was stillborn when a Welsh Assembly Government review, initiated as part of a power-sharing coalition deal, decided to invite bidders for predominantly online operations and capped funding at £200,000 a year – far less than Y Byd said it needed. Now Cardiff-based Media Wales, which publishes the English-language Western Mail, South Wales Echo and Wales On Sunday papers together online as icWales, wants in.
Trinity Mirror’s bid may stick in the throat of smaller hopefuls, coming as it does as a plea from a relatively large commercially-funded entity rather than a struggling public enterprise. But Trinity itself is not in rude financial health and, having demonstrated it can at least run its existing news orgs professionally, it may now be considered a safer pair of hands. A growing 21.7 percent of those in Wales speak Welsh – but another 139,000 around the world use the language… a well-run online operation may fulfil the dream of reconnecting the diaspora in places like Patagonia. Still, the fledgling operation would face competition from BBC News’ own well-funded services in both Welsh and English. The grant would be administered by the Welsh Books Council.