Most of 150 new BBC-funded Local Democracy reporters go to Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press - Press Gazette

Most of 150 new BBC-funded Local Democracy reporters go to Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press

The lion’s share of contracts for the pool of 150 BBC-funded “local democracy reporters” have been awarded to the UK’s largest local newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror.

The Manchester Evening News publisher has picked up 24 contracts, giving it 64 reporters from the 144 assigned in this first stage, the BBC has revealed.

Newsquest and Johnston Press have won the bid for 37 and 30 reporters respectively.

A total of 58 news organisations in England, Scotland and Wales have successfully bid for the new staff, who they must now set about recruiting with a view to having them on staff in the next few months.

Scroll down for full breakdown by publisher and region

The news organisations will receive funding from the BBC to cover employment costs of the reporters

By regional breakdown, Scotland has been awarded the most local democracy reporters followed by the North West at 21 and 19 respectively.

David Holdsworth, Controller of BBC English Regions, said: “This is a major advance in the partnership which will significantly improve the reporting on councils and public institutions, leading to greater public accountability for our local politicians. “

To be awarded the democracy reporter contracts, the 58 successful news organisations had to pass “stringent criteria” which included “financial stability and a strong track record of relevant journalism in the area they were applying to cover” said the BBC.

The award decisions were made by senior editorial BBC figures across the UK.

Ashley Highfield, chair of the News Media Association, said: “The ground-breaking Local News Partnership between the NMA and the BBC is now becoming a reality which will benefit the BBC, local media and, most importantly, local communities.”

“The initiative has moved the whole relationship between the BBC and the local media sector from confrontation to collaboration, and key benefits will include 150 new journalists on the ground holding public institutions to account on behalf of their readers.

“Managed by local media and funded by BBC, the Local Democracy Reporters are just a part of a slew of collaborative initiatives that will see local media get access to BBC’s local video and data journalism.”

As part of its Charter commitment, the BBC is investing up to £8 million annually in the Local News Partnerships during the next nine years to the end of the Charter in 2026.

Allocation by publisher:

Publisher Contracts Reporters
Trinity Mirror 24 63
Newsquest 17 37
Johnston Press 8 30.5
DC Thompson 2 4
KM Media Group 1 2
Stonebow Media (The Lincolnshire Reporter) 1 2
Archant Community Media 1 2
Citizen News and Media (The Hackney Citizen) 1 1
London Evening Standard 1 1
Manx Radio 1 1
Shetland News 1 0.5
TOTAL 58 144

Allocation by region:

BBC Region Contracts Reporters
North East 3 8
North West 5 19
Yorkshire & Lincs 5 16
South West 1 3
West Midlands 5 14
East Midlands 2 5
West 2 7
South 5 13
East 4 10
South East 2 5
London 12* 13*
Scotland 10** 21.5**
Wales 4 11
TOTAL 60 145.5

*One contract for 1 FTE reporter currently unallocated
**One contract for 0.5 FTE reporter currently unallocated



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.


4 thoughts on “Most of 150 new BBC-funded Local Democracy reporters go to Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press”

  1. This is a socially beneficial development, but an indictment of proprietorial shortcomings and under-resourcing of basic day-to-day reportage. Council reporting should obviously be a ‘must’ priority for local papers’ internal editorial budgets anyway. BBC contributions will greatly enhance such coverage – but should not have to.

1 2

Comments are closed.