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March 21, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:32am

Regional publishers team up to develop local news podcasts backed by Google money

By Freddy Mayhew

Two of the UK’s biggest regional news publishers have teamed up to develop local news podcasts and audio projects.

Manchester Evening News publisher Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror) and Yorkshire Post publisher JPI Media (formerly Johnston Press) have won €500,000 (£434,000) from Google to grow the project.

The publishers have teamed up with podcast platform Entale, which adds pictures, links and quotes to shows for an “interactive experience”, to launch Laudable.

The money, awarded as part of Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund, will help Laudable develop new audio shows in regional newsrooms and identify ways to make them financially sustainable, said the two publishers.

Laudable will also work to create cross-company podcasts, “involving journalists from multiple publishers to create engaging series”, they said.

The pair submitted the joint funding bid last year. They said they hoped Laudable would support publishers across the UK once up and running, and “pioneer new ways for local advertisers to connect with local audiences through audio”.

David Higgerson, Reach chief audience officer, said: “Across our local newsrooms, we have a whole stable of experts on all sorts of subjects, and some of the best storytellers in journalism.

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“Laudable will give us the chance to unlock that expertise, reaching new audiences and engaging existing ones in a new way. It will also help us create audio around subjects which don’t get much of a show at the moment.

“We know true crime works, as does football, but what else can we achieve by listening to what our readers are interested in?”

Jeremy Clifford, editor-in-chief of JPI Media, said: “We know podcasting is becoming increasingly popular and is a skill that our journalists need to be equipped with, whether that is for creating engaging chatty and insightful commentary about football or more pithy incisive debate around politics.”

Hannah Blake, head of business development and partnerships at Entale, said: the partnership with the two publishes “will bring our unique innovation to media organisations around the country”.

The DNI Fund, part of the Google News Initiative, is a €150m (£130m) pot shared out over three years to support the development of new digital journalism business ideas.

Newsquest has also won funding from Google to develop a tool to help members of the public submit content “ready-for-publication” in its local news titles.

Picture: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

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