ICNN and C4CJ welcome the recommendations of the Cairncross Report.
Syndication deal between independent news sites to boost coverage of Welsh politics
By Matt Abbott | 31st Jan 2019
A syndication deal between three of Wales’s largest independent news sites will help deliver vital news from the Welsh Government and the National Assembly to people in North Wales.
The deal comes eighteen months after the publication of the Digital News and Information Taskforce report which said The National Assembly must look beyond the fragmented media in Wales to better communicate its work to a wider audience and address the democratic information deficit.
The first syndicated stories were published on Wednesday 23rd January on both sites, and covered a story on Hitachi shelving plans to build a nuclear power station on Anglesey and the first in a series of weekly summaries of First Minister Questions sessions from Cardiff Bay.
Rob Taylor from Wrexham.com said: “We always want to cover Cardiff Bay but do not have the resources, so we are using what we have got to help inform readers up here as well as supporting a fellow independent venture in Wales.”
“There has been lots of talk over more Senedd coverage, but as is usual that goes on while people get on and do it. Owen’s work over the years speaks for itself and we are delighted he was open to the arrangement and look forward to working with SeneddHome.com”
“We are proper excited in a geeky way over it – we just hope people read it and it gives a connection to people around here about the work in the bay…!”
James Sheppard from Deeside.com added: “The Assembly, or likely soon renamed as Parliament, has more of an impact on the people of Wales than ever before but awareness of the work there is terrible.
“Up here in North Wales things are made worse with easier consumption of english television channels, and ‘welsh’ media often owned and directed from England.”
“We are looking to build genuine relationships with people motivated by the old school thinking of wanting to shine lights and inform, and we hope the new agreement will be a genuine win for all concerned.”
“We are fed naturally partisan press releases from AM’s media officers which tend to make media websites and papers without much editing or challenge, Owens work will complement our neutral political stance really well.”
Senedd Home’s Owen Donovan said: “The chance to work with wrexham.com and deeside.com – two of the largest independent news sites in Wales – is too good an opportunity to turn down.
“Senedd Home has been praised for the accuracy and consistency of its output, but when you’re dealing with politics alone it’s always going to limit your potential audience. I’ve often had to go out and tell people that the site actually exists, but once they read it they usually stick around and I have a loyal audience.
“Syndication makes sense. I do the grunt work that hyperlocals might not have the time or resources to do; in turn it broadens their news coverage and boosts coverage of Welsh politics in places which perhaps don’t give a second thought to the Senedd.
“If this proves a success, it might encourage other independent news sites and hyperlocals to consider a similar arrangement and put Senedd Home on a much more secure long-term footing as, effectively, an unofficial newswire service for the National Assembly.”
According to the website, Senedd Home was set up due to a lack of coverage of domestic politics – a situation long been dubbed the “democratic deficit”.
The site is updated throughout the week when the National Assembly’s in session – usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Owen also runs Oggy Bloggy Ogwr, an independent news outlet focussed on the South Wales town of Bridgend; and State of Wales, a magazine-style blog dedicated to “big picture” issues, including major challenges facing Wales at present and Welsh independence.
The syndication comes as Welsh Government continue discussions on how effectively to spend the £200,000 fund for ‘hyperlocal start-ups’ that was announced late 2017.
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