BBC hosts Revival of Local Journalism conference

...from local radio to the nightly regional news on TV, we at the BBC see that nothing matters more to our audiences than what’s happening where they live.James Harding, Director, BBC News and Current Affairs
Date: 16.06.2014     Last updated: 16.06.2014 at 12.41
Local TV, radio, newspaper and online journalists from all over the country, along with representatives from the wider media industry, will gather at a conference at MediaCityUK later this month to discuss the challenges facing local journalism in a digital age.

The conference, on Wednesday 25 June, has been organised by the BBC and supported by the Society of Editors.

It will aim to take the pulse of local journalism today as well as explore how the industry will tackle the coming challenges and investigate where the digital compass is pointing.

James Harding, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs, who will be hosting the event, says: "Our hope is that we can get people from across print and broadcasting, online, mobile and social media, local government and business to discuss what’s happened to local journalism, and more interestingly, where we think it’s going.

"Budgetary pressures have been brought to bear on regional newsrooms in recent years and there is a concern about the impact this is having on our society and our democracy. But is the pessimism overdone? Local newspapers are reinventing themselves for the age of mobile and social media; new forms of local journalism are emerging online; local and hyperlocal radio is proving to be commercially resilient, not to mention very popular; mobile phone operators are experimenting in the area; new television operators are starting out; and, from local radio to the nightly regional news on TV, we at the BBC see that nothing matters more to our audiences than what’s happening where they live."

Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors, says: “The media is global. Readers, listeners and viewers can access news instantly from around the world but nothing is more important to how they lead their lives than what is happening in their own communities. Local media organisations are bouncing back after a long period of commercial, structural and technological challenges. Demonstrating their resilience and confidence, many are determined to continue leading the way in informing the public of what they need and are entitled to know. It is timely for the BBC to bring them together to discuss the huge changes that affect them all.”

Speakers include Michael Jermey, Head of ITV News and Current Affairs; Neil Benson, Editorial Director of Trinity Mirror Regionals; Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the NUJ; Joanna Geary, Head of News Partnerships for Twitter; and Mark Woodward, Group Head of Newspaper Websites for Johnston Press. Helen Goodman MP, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, will also be speaking along with the CEO of Liverpool City Council, Ged Fitzgerald.

The conference will be recorded and available to view on BBC Academy’s College of Journalism website: bbc.co.uk/journalism

Note to Editors

This is an invitation only conference.

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