A national public service reporting project could cost PA £18m – claims training head

The Press Association estimates its proposed public service reporting project would cost £15m to £18m each year and necessitate up to 800 reporters if it were to become a national scheme.

PA’s training head Tony Johnston told a meeting of the Digital Editors Network, in Preston, estimates were rough.

In July, PA announced plans is to launch a pilot scheme where journalists would report court and council meetings previously covered by local and regional newspapers with the aim of gaining public funds to plug a gap in coverage of public organisations.

Johnston said a six to 12 month trial in Liverpool was in the pipeline after which PA would ‘lobby for national funding’to take the idea nationwide.

Paid Content reported the proposed national project would be delivered initially through a WordPress blog site where stories would be available to all free of charge.

Johnston said. ‘It’s not that there will be a primary site for the public to access – they may do so if they wish, but we’re in the business of creating a content pool available to the publishers, who will come up with innovative ways of distributing, segmenting it, monetising it if they like.”

Not all 800 reports would be hired by PA, Johnston added, bloggers could be asked to feed in information if they can be verified

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