Local news organisations can apply next week for their share of a pool of 150 journalists, paid-for by the BBC, as the corporation says it expects the first recruits in newsrooms in the autumn.
The “local democracy reporters” are part of the BBC’s Local News Partnership, into which it claims to be investing up to £8m a year for the next 11 years.
The scheme, created with the News Media Association, will also open up access to an audio/video “news hub” of BBC content for use online and a shared data journalism unit.
Applications to the Local News Partnership open on 15 May to both regulated and unregulated news publishers.
The first of the new reporters are expected to be recruited in the West and North West of England.
The BBC said it hoped the partnership “will lead to improved reporting on decisions taken by public bodies and will see expertise shared around the industry”.
David Holdsworth, controller of BBC English Regions, said: “This is an exciting moment in the development of our partnership with the local news industry.
“We’re at a stage now where our ideas are close to becoming a reality.
“The BBC has made a big commitment to this project because we want to play our part in making sure decisions that affect the lives of our audiences are given appropriate journalistic attention.
“By working collaboratively and cooperatively with the local news industry we believe we can do that more effectively in communities across the country.”
Picture: Reuters/Paul Hackett