The first two UK publications aimed at Asian audiences have joined the BBC’s Local News Partnerships Scheme under an expansion to include black, Asian and minority ethnic titles.
Weekly Asian newspaper Eastern Eye, which is based in London, and Bradford-based monthly title Asian Sunday have both signed up.
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They are now able to access and publish stories written by the BBC’s 150 Local Democracy Reporters, who report on the activities of local authorities.
They will also be able to make use of the scheme’s news hub, which gives partner websites access to BBC video news content, and its shared data unit, which trains journalists seconded from partner organisations and produces data-led stories.
Eastern Eye associate editor Rithika Siddhartha said the service would allow the paper to “supplement our unrivalled coverage of news that engages our readership – from local government to stories of national interest and also international affairs”.
“The partnership with the BBC enhances Eastern Eye’s reportage of politics, business and local communities which are at the heart of British society,” she added.
Eastern Eye has already made use of several stories, including a council warning about the sale of toxic body paint at markets and a councillor who has received online abuse.
The membership requirements for the scheme were extended in October to give its content a wider audience reach into different communities within the UK.
The BBC said the Local Democracy Reporters have now filed more than 125,000 stories to be used by more than 900 approved local news outlets since the scheme launched at the start of 2018.
Ken MacQuarrie, director of nations and regions for the BBC, said signing BAME publications up to the Local News Partnerships was a “big step in ensuring important local stories are read, heard and seen by as many people in as many communities as possible”.
“Newsrooms around the globe are having to do more with less, and I’m proud that Britain’s public broadcaster is doing its bit to help support public interest journalism,” he said.
“We’d like to encourage more publications aimed at BAME audiences to join. The benefits are clear, with hundreds of stories filed each week on councils, health bodies, police and crime commissioners and other authorities.”
JPI Media editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford, who chairs the advisory panel overseeing this partnership between the BBC and the News Media Association, said it was an “important milestone” that means the “local public interest journalism generated by the project will reach new audiences served by these publications”.