View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Comment
January 23, 2008

Editors are right to worry about BBC’s ultra-local plans

By Dominic Ponsford1

News that the BBC is again looking into launching ultra-local news services will raise the hackles of local newspaper bosses.

The regional press is an industry which employs more than 10,000 journalists and which is currently ploughing headlong into the development of its own websites – which by their very nature are ultra local.

Regional dailies in particular are losing sales more rapidly than any other medium.

The continuance of their crucial role in building communities and holding those in power to account depends largely on their ability to win new readers online.

They face a tough-enough fight to make this happen with resources already cut to the bone because of the pressure on circulations and ad sales.

Being forced to compete with a publicly funded competitor could make this even harder.

The BBC’s planned 60 new websites would cover areas roughly equivalent in size to the patch of a mid-sized regional daily.

Content from our partners
How PA Media is helping newspapers make the digital transition
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution

While the BBC could never hope to compete in terms of reporters on the ground – it stands to make up for that with the technological muscle it can bring to bear and the ability it has to cross-promote its services.

At a time when the BBC is planning to cut 2,000 from its workforce in the face of a tight licence fee settlement – and faces a struggle just to continue to provide the excellence journalistic service it already does – it seems a strange time to launch such an ambitious new project.

Especially when such a move poses a possible threat to journalists on local papers who – like the BBC – perform a crucial public service.

Topics in this article : , ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network