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18 August 2017

Leading Digital Player To Hook Up Pioneering Local News Partnerships

The BBC has chosen a technology provider to make its pioneering Local News Partnerships with the UK’s regional news industry a reality.

Following a tender process, StreamAMG has been selected to provide the systems that will allow the BBC to share content with other news providers. The technology company is one of Europe’s leading providers of advanced digital media solutions. It is owned by the PA Group and already provides streaming for BBC World Service.

The Local News Partnerships agreement between the BBC and the News Media Association will create 150 new journalism jobs, a shared data journalism unit, and a facility allowing local news providers access to local BBC material.

Inside the BBC, systems are being adapted and developed to make sure every local television and radio news clip and package will find its way into this new system. From there, items can be picked up by approved news organisations.

The plan is the result of the partnership forged between the News Media Association and the BBC to encourage better collaborative working across the industry and written into the Government’s White Paper ‘A BBC for the future; a broadcaster of distinction’. 

The brief was to form a partnership that ensured the BBC supports and invigorates local news provision across the UK, through the delivery of a set of proposals to support local democracy. Along with newspapers, websites and broadcasters it will ensure full and fair reporting of decisions taken by local authorities and other public bodies.

More than 600 news organisations across the UK have already been approved to be part of the scheme that includes online use of the BBC’s video and audio local news output, as well as content provided by the new joint NMA/BBC Shared Data Unit and the stories filed by the Local Democracy Reporters.  

The next step is the tender process to award 60 contracts to run the network of 150 Local Democracy Reporters funded by the Licence Fee. They will be working across councils covering the UK, providing content for the BBC and all eligible news organisations.  The first reporters are likely to be in post early next year.

The creation of the local data journalism unit, the product of many months’ work between the NMA and the BBC, will not only provide quality content relevant to every area of the country but will also help to train journalists in vital skills needed today. Recruitment into the unit will take place from September.

David Holdsworth, controller of BBC English Regions says: “This takes us a step closer to our exciting step for local journalism. StreamAMG currently helps the BBC World Service deliver content to its network of partners and we’re confident it will be able to provide a simple and smart solution for domestic news providers too.”

Jeremy Clifford, chair of the NMA/BBC Advisory Panel and Johnston Press editor-in-chief, said: “We are moving ever closer to seeing the first of the Local Democracy Reporters employed by the local news media organisations. This is a significant investment in local journalism that will help to reinforce the coverage of our local councils.

"The partnership between the NMA and the BBC has demonstrated how news organisations can work collaboratively for a common goal."

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