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January 31, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:26am

Facebook community news project officially launches with full list of ‘under-served’ locations for 82 reporters

By Charlotte Tobitt

Facebook’s Community News Project officially launched today, revealing the full list of 82 new reporter roles which will cover “under-served” news locations across the UK.

The social media giant is donating £4.5m to the National Council for the Training of Journalists over two years to oversee the recruitment of trainee community journalists across nine publishers, including four new independents.

The new roles will be based up and down the country from Hackney in London to Fife in Scotland and West Wales to ensure “under-served communities will have the strong local coverage they deserve”.

Scroll down for the full list of locations

Recruits will be tasked with engaging with people in their communities to “curate, collate and create content relevant to them”.

They will receive either apprenticeship, diploma or senior reporter training from the NCTJ, depending on their level of education and experience.

Press Gazette has already reported on community reporter job adverts made available by Reach and Newsquest, but today the full picture is revealed.

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The breakdown of community reporters among publishers is as follows…

  • Reach – 28 reporters
  • Newsquest – 23 reporters
  • JPI Media – 19 reporters
  • Archant – four reporters
  • Midlands News Association – three reporters

The Kent Messenger Group, Maidenhead Advertiser, Barnsley Chronicle and Newbury Weekly News have also now joined the scheme, with two reporters for KM Group and one each for the other titles.

The locations for the 82 roles were decided through research to ascertain areas which have no newsroom, no title with the name of the town or city in it, or where there are significant communities which are underrepresented due to a lack of community news in their established local news titles.

After using this criteria, the areas were ranked by population. The same process would be used if the scheme were to be expanded, the project’s organisers said today.

The scheme also specifically acknowledges that it is not only rural areas that can be under-served, with reporters allocated to certain cities to allow more in-depth reporting of specific communities such as Kensington and Chelsea in London, where the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017 killed 72 people.

Facebook’s head of news partnerships in the UK, Nick Wrenn, said the aim of the project is that it “helps more people access the news that matters to them most and promotes quality local news in under-served areas of the UK”.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “This project will help ensure that many under-served communities will have the strong local coverage they deserve.

“Journalists need to understand and listen to the voices in these communities and the issues that affect their day-to-day lives. To do that effectively they need to be there and to have the right skills and reporting expertise.

“It’s great to see a mix of locations, from remote rural communities to big inner cities, that will add diverse views and coverage to our local journalism.”

David Higgerson, chief audience officer at Reach, said: “Establishing a genuine relationship between communities and their local newsrooms is a major step towards securing the future of local journalism.

“We’re all aware of the financial challenges faced by regional news in recent years – this project will go a long way to better serving more people.”

Full list of community reporter locations:

  • Barnsley
  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Birmingham (2 reporters)
  • Blackburn
  • Blackpool
  • Bournemouth
  • Bradford (2)
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cardiff (2)
  • Cornwall
  • County Durham
  • Coventry
  • Cumbria
  • Derby
  • Derbyshire
  • Devon/Plymouth
  • Doncaster
  • Edinburgh (2)
  • Essex
  • Fife
  • Glasgow (2)
  • Gloucestershire
  • Hackney
  • Hampshire
  • Herefordshire
  • Hull
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Kent (2)
  • Leeds (2)
  • Leicester
  • Lewisham
  • Lincolnshire
  • Liverpool (2)
  • Maidenhead
  • Manchester (2)
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newbury
  • Newcastle (2)
  • Newport (2)
  • Norfolk
  • North East Wales
  • North West Wales
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Northumberland
  • Nottingham/Notts (2)
  • Oxfordshire
  • Peterborough
  • Portsmouth
  • Plymouth
  • Preston
  • Sheffield (2)
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • Southampton
  • Stoke
  • Suffolk
  • Sunderland
  • Surrey
  • Sussex
  • Swansea
  • West Wales
  • Wiltshire
  • Wolverhampton (2)
  • Worcestershire

Picture: Reuters/Jon Nazca

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