Bidders for public money to finance independently-funded news consortia are falling over themselves to include “citizen journalism” in their proposals – but it’s their pledge to give away their content, with no copyright limitations, that promises a more exciting transformation of news.
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which is deliberating over which consortia to hand cash to in three pilot regions, hosted its first public meeting on the idea in Cardiff on Wednesday, allowing the Wales region’s three bidders to pitch their proposals to a packed crowd (and to the department’s watching panel of selectors).
It’s by no means clear whether the whole idea will be scuppered by a possible Conservative government, or whether the bidders are merely fluttering their digital eyelashes at selectors. But, at least for now, all the hopefuls are promising something clear and actually quite radical – online-centric new JVs that integrate existing print and broadcast operations and which pledge to hand their content over to the audience itself…
Llanelli indie TV producer Tinopolis is going it alone for its bid, which trades on offering output that’s not Cardiff-centric, but has previously said it wants to obtain raw news footage from BBC News. Executive director Angharad Mair: “(The website) will be the core from which everything will flow … your stories and comments will come straight to us and we’ll use them across our services.
“We will encourage and enable a new generation of citizen journalists with online tutorials, toolkits and templates, because we think the news is for everybody. If the website is our hub, the Wales Tonight programme will be our showcase.”