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Report highlights need for new models of local journalism in Glasgow

Publication: Greater Govanhill

Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) workshop
Photo via Greater Govanhill

Drawing on findings from a workshop held in Glasgow, the Public Interest News Foundation and NewsNow have produced a report that calls for a media wealth-building approach to supporting and developing the local news sector across the UK.

A new report published by the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) and NewsNow highlights how the people of Glasgow want local news that is truly local and reflects their area.

Findings from a workshop held in November show that communities want locally owned journalism, celebrates achievements, is a voice for locals, drives civic engagement, and holds the powerful to account.

There are calls for local news outlets to be supported and saved from extinction and demands on funders and policymakers to provide support.

Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) workshop
Photo by Greater Govanhill | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

The report is based on a workshops held in six towns and cities across the UK – Bangor, Bristol, Folkestone, Glasgow, Manchester and Newry.

In Glasgow, the event was held on 14 November 2022 at the Kinning Park Complex,  a community-owned space in the Southside of the city.

​Individuals from a variety of backgrounds – including from Greater Govanhill – came together to draft a ‘Local News Plan’ that sets out people’s views of local news at present and their vision for the local news of the future.

Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) workshop
Photo by Greater Govanhill | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

Eve Livingston, the local steward responsible for organising the Glasgow workshop, said:

“Thriving local news is vital for us all to be able to participate fully as citizens so I was delighted to be part of this project in Glasgow. The workshop was full of really inspiring and thoughtful conversations that left me feeling motivated and hopeful for the future of local news. I’m excited to see those conversations reflected in this report and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

The report recommends that:

  1. Local advertisers and government should allocate a proportion of their budget for outlets that align with the Local News Plans;
  2. Funding for local news should be managed by independent local foundations;
  3. More communities should develop Local News Plans to ensure local news represents their needs.

This approach is described by PINF and NewsNow as ‘media wealth building’, because it aims to maximise the value of local news to local communities.

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director of PINF, said:

“Most local newspapers in the UK are owned by three large corporations, which have received millions of pounds in handouts from the government, big tech and the BBC. Local communities aren’t happy with the quality of local news that they’re getting in return. If we want to build a sustainable future for local news, we need to give local people a voice.”

The Local News Plans project was conceived by PINF in partnership with NewsNow, who also funded the project. The project was led by international media consultant, Sameer Padania, and Jonathan Heawood, working with local stewards in each location.

Speaking about the findings, Sameer Padania said:

“We’ve seen the challenges facing local communities across the UK, but we’ve also seen how those same communities want local news to be part of the solution. High-quality local news reflects people’s pride in their area, supports their high streets and businesses, spotlights community initiatives and builds a sense of belonging. Local news isn’t just an add-on – it’s an essential part of every local community.”

The report mentions the opening of the Community Newsroom by Greater Govanhill and The Ferret as a hub for ongoing conversations about the future of local news in the city.

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by Paul Fisher Cockburn, C&B News