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March 9, 2008

Glasgow hyperlocal sites ‘don’t compete with BBC local plans’

By Martin Stabe wirepost

The BBC does not see the stable of 12 hyperlocal websites launched by the Glasgow Evening Times as putting the newspaper into competition with the BBC’s local online journalism plans, according to BBC Scotland’s Mark Coyle.

Coyle told the Sunday Herald the BBC’s local web sites would be linking to the Newsquest paper’s hyperlocal sites and others like them.

He said: “I’m not afraid to say the Evening Times sites are good and if other companies came up with something similar then we would probably link to them as well. I hope we can be grown-up about it. The internet works through people linking to each other’s sites. It is a different concept for people to go through.”

Scottish regional newspaper publishers, like those throughout the UK, have long expressed concern that the BBC’s local ambitions online could put them into direct, and unfair competition with the corporation.

The latest incarnation of the BBC’s ultralocal strategy, now known as BBC Local, is due to launch in March 2009, pending approval from the BBC trust. Newspaper publishers reacted with dismay when details of the plan started emerging earlier this year.

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