Welsh Government Funded news stories
June 27, 2023 at 8:22 am #236472
Can’t share the same enthusiasm as Wrexham.com over the funding Welsh Government are going to provide to support media reporting from the Senedd.
Once you have a Government funded organisation the level of openness will decrease as no one wants to upset their paymaster. We all ready have national newspapers that have distinct party political allegiance that spin the same news story to benefited a particular political narrative.
Wrexham.com and others should think hard about becoming the mouth piece of the Welsh Government regardless of which Political Party is in power.June 27, 2023 at 3:56 pm #236502
The reporter is not being run by Welsh Gov or anyone close, as the article states – we wouldn’t be involved in anything like that.
The good thing about what we do is what we publish is public. I would challenge anyone to show us as being a mouthpiece of anyone :) Likewise the output from this will be the same so easy to monitor.
It has been our long held view that there is often more coverage over what goes on in our Guildhall than in the Senedd and something needs to change that. Legacy dying media are either not interested or don’t have the resources to do it – or both.
A while back we trialed a Press Association feed and it was all but empty. During that trial we saw how some big media groups operation – it is why school and health stories from England and Scotland appear on Welsh news sites, but it is all traffic so who cares right?
An opportunity to come up with ideas for half of this ‘pot’ of money arose and we again put forward the idea of a Senedd Reporter to hopefully go and have a poke down there, create some unique articles and add to the eyes on the place. The hope is it will be a bit like the Local Democracy Reporters that are currently funded as part of the UK Gov’s licence fee settlement – and are arms arms arms length away from that.
If it works as intended there will be a new reporter based out of the https://caerphilly.observer/ (a bit like Wrexham.com or MyWelshpool down there) that the independent media of Wales can ‘direct’ – so hopefully lots more appearing on here about the local health board for example.
The wider debate about who should fund media is an interesting one – assuming you believe media should exist – and who is getting what funding in what way already.
The public want clickbait – or they indicate that preference by giving nonsense traffic – then a rinse and repeat. Facebook is currently accelerating that with an algorithm change meaning the ‘big boys’ have lost *loads* of traffic, probably the reason their Facebook pages have turned into desperate Peter Kay tribute acts – WalesOnline today asking for a petition to bring back Milky Bars, and more ‘local’ ‘oooh remembers the Beast Market?’ etc Look at several pages from the same media group and popular stuff gets repeated, form up article off reply and feed it back to Facebookers. People love it and engage though.
Local and national government pay vast sums for ads in legacy publications – legally required ones get in the back of newspapers with no law change to stop it – and lazy media ‘experts’ advise the same for campaigns. There is no desire to ‘destabilise the current model’ – to quote a senior Welsh Gov comms bloke.
UK Gov recently responded to a UK Parliament review ( https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/39981/documents/195044/default/ ) where UK Gov said they would look at exploring ‘additional fiscal measures’ to support the sector. Currently if you run a newspaper you get a business rates discount – perhaps more tax breaks? Legal Statutory notices wont be binned – basically its confirmed as a subsidy – “sudden withdrawal would seriously damage the sector and are therefore mindful that government intervention has the potential to adversely impact an already fragile industry”.
There was also a call for an audit of public money that supports the local news sector. That was rejected as apparently everything is done properly already.
My guess is who wants to be the politician/party/person who cuts off the final chunky revenue stream to ‘local’ papers? Media in Wales (and elsewhere) is in a mess and it probably could kill it. The amount of staff at what people probably think are still huge titles is tiny, and all likely being worked to the bone to hit ever nonsensical click targets.
There are other options eg. USA has a different cultural view on it, with more philanthropic actions with desire for freedom of speech and interest appearing much higher.
Back on topic – I would bet £38 no other publication in North Wales, or Wales, has paid the £38 to read the sub evidence about the 20MPH zones https://www.wrexham.com/news/wrexham-public-will-know-in-a-couple-of-weeks-which-roads-will-be-exempt-from-20mph-switch-236442.html
My hope is the new reporter does that sort of thing, digs more, interviews the Ministers about it and checks out whats going on in the committee meetings down there.
Should it be done via this cash? Debatable.
Could the same mini group of indy titles in Wales be funding it direct themselves if they had say just 5% of the £800k promotional spend of the single 20MPH roll out campaign? Yes.
Imagine if there was competitive commercial access to ALL the wider Welsh Gov ad spend* on the big range of campaigns and what could be done then! Imagine that for local governments…
The issue is not just public money – the issues are mirrored locally, like Erddig paying for a ‘advertorial’ in Reach PLC and invite us to publish it for free etc etc, the apparently community spirited CO-OP being the opposite… it all contributes to the slow demise of media.
Perhaps the article should have read ‘bin off the subsidies, and do ads not grants please‘.
This is far too long a reply to an small point, but it is important and obviously something we care about!
(co-runs Wrexham.com for anyone unaware reading this)
* If only there was a list! As there is naff all spend with indy media we recently FOI’ed to find out how big an issue it is… it seems odd grants, PR, interview ops etc are fine but ads are not. As for alleged ‘agency commission’ I would hope those paid to place the ad don’t get a kick back from where the ads end up either.
Titles and URLs promoted by Welsh Government via paid promotion.
All campaigns that have been active in the last 12 months to date.
Childcare Offer for Wales | Help With Childcare Costs Wales
Your Home in Wales
Net zero skills Wales
Safer at 20mph: Let’s look out for each other
Housing law is changing: Renting Homes Wales
Talk with me: guidance for practitioners
Power up wales
Here to help with the cost of living
Help Us to Help You
National Forest for Wales
Get help with school costs
Parenting. Give it time.
Period Proud Wales
Hate hurts Wales
The Well-being of Future Generations
Climate Action Wales
A More Equal Wales: The Socio-economic Duty
Welsh Language Music Day
This is not ok – This is control – Concerned about a young person?
Talk with me
Live Fear Free helpline
Don’t make your organ donation decision a guessing game campaign
Children’s rights: Information for children
Together we’ll keep Wales safe
Don’t be a bystander
Call out only
This is me
Ending physical punishment of children
Working together for a better Wales
This is not ok – This is control
Pay less Council Tax
Our Valleys, Our Future
Don’t let money get in the way of university
Education is changing
Living donation campaign
Why choose higher education?
This is sexual abuse. This is not OK
Securing Wales’ Future
30th Anniversary of the UNCRC
Use your views
This is control
Cymraeg for kidsJune 27, 2023 at 3:57 pm #236503
Also, since writing that wall of text – the BBC have covered it as well with comment from Rich Gurner, editor and publisher of the Caerphilly Observer “I think the success of the LDRS in highlighting the work that councils do that can be mirrored by this project, and hopefully increase the understanding of the Senedd and its workings.”
He said in part the project was making-up for market failure: “It’s is difficult to cast the blame on individual organisation, because if you ask any editor in any newsroom if they would like to have a dedicated reporter covering certain parts of society they would say yes, of course they would.
“Unfortunately the current business model of the media is under huge amount of pressure and those resources that were perhaps there 30, 40, even 10 years ago, aren’t there today.”
He added: “If there was any sort of suggestion that there would be editorial interference, I wouldn’t be involved in the project.
“One of the caveats I’ve had in basically agreeing to be the home for this reporter is that you know, the final editorial say rests with with me.”
More from BBC Wales political reporter on
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-66031549June 27, 2023 at 6:21 pm #236527
Thanks for clarity and further info- fingers crossed it works outJuly 5, 2023 at 8:52 am #236851
How would a Welsh Government funded reporter report on the totally disastrous performance from Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gethin at the Covid Inquiry. They actually admitted what many people have been saying for the past 3 years the Welsh Government was totally unprepared for a pandemic despite various planning and strategic opportunities to pre plan.
Will our own MSs – Lesley Griffiths and Ken Skates now admit the Labour Party Government were not fit for purpose during the pandemic.
What will Labour spin Doctors do to try and recover an undefendable position.July 5, 2023 at 9:14 am #236852
Searching for stories on that this morning on titles that claim to be ‘local’ reveal zero stories.
The BBC has https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-66104269 .
Incidentally both ‘local’ titles managed to report (one written by the ‘SEO Reporter’) on a false story on Rob McElhenney’s personal life. A story that originated via an anon email to a USA gossip site that was then picked up.
Is that because readers want more celeb gossip than actual reporting of big issues, or one generates more traffic / clicks / ads so is worth doing?
Or, to follow the logic on critics of the scheme in this thread, as the titles get large amounts of cash via the statutory notice system and large amounts of cash from Welsh Gov ads they don’t want to rock the boat?
It does highlight the paucity of ‘proper’ reporting. Imagine a well funded media that does the ‘boring’ bits and what we all may learn.July 5, 2023 at 10:56 am #236855
Worth noting that is by “Bronwen Weatherby, PA” – Wales correspondent for Press Association.
You can pay the Press Association about £15-20k a year for a feed and are then able to republish it.October 17, 2023 at 11:25 am #241616
This is now live!
Quite interesting, and pretty nailed on that it wouldn’t be covered anywhere else.
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