BBC Local Democracy reporter Scheme Q&A with ICNN Director Emma Meese and head of the LNP Matthew Barraclough

By Matt Abbott | 22nd Jun 2018

Since the BBC first touted the idea of dedicating £8m worth of tax-payer’s money to fill the local democracy gap in journalism by employing 150 local democracy reporters, at the Centre for Community Journalism we knew we had to get involved.

We spent the next two years calling for the inclusion of community and hyperlocal publishers as we felt that these were the very publishers who were already filling this gap.

There are now more than 30 community or hyperlocal publishers taking part in the BBC’s Local News Partnership Scheme (previously the Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) Scheme), and four who are running their own LDR.

But the scheme has attracted some criticism from those taking part, and also those looking on from the outside.

Questions about how many have been employed so far; what’s the policy on back-filling jobs if the position has been filled internally; what measures are in place to ensure the quality of content; what happens when an LDR leaves or is fired; and how serious is it if LDRs file rehashed press releases?

So, we sat down with the head of the BBC’s Local News Partnerships, Matthew Barraclough, and the assistant editor, Jason Gibbins and asked them, ‘how’s it all going?’

Watch our live chat below.

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