Reach has appointed its first community news reporters paid for by a Facebook-funded scheme run by the UK’s main journalism training body.
The publisher of the Mirror, Express and Star newspapers is set to receive 28 out of a total of 82 local reporters being hired through the Community News Project and paid for by a £4.5m grant from the tech giant.
Its first community news reporters have been placed in counties and cities across the country – including Bristol, Derby and Surrey.
Facebook revealed it would be funding project in November, pledging to pay the salaries, expenses and training costs for new journalists.
Behind Local News, a blog run by publishers, has reported that recruits from the scheme will go on a “Facebook bootcamp” in the summer before starting training with the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Speaking to the website, new Derbyshire Live community reporter Ria Tesia said: “I am thrilled to be a part of the Reach family. I am an avid reader of the Derby Telegraph and have been since university.
“I look forward to working with a talented team whose warm welcome has already made me feel like a valued member of the team.”
Wales Online hire Kynaat Awan added: “I look forward to the training I will receive and making those important contacts in the community. I hope to grow in my confidence and writing skills throughout my experience.”
Rival regional publisher Newsquest has also taken on its first set of community news reporters, including a 36-year-old from Poland now living in Bicester. It will take on 23 reporters in total under the scheme.
The breakdown of community reporters being assigned to publishers is as follows:
- Reach – 28 reporters
- Newsquest – 23 reporters
- JPI Media – 19 reporters
- Archant – four reporters
- Midlands News Association – three reporters
- Kent Messenger Group – two reporters
The Barnsley Chronicle, Newbury Weekly News and Maidenhead Advertiser will all be getting one community reporter each as the situation stands.
The Community News Project will be led by Independent executive editor Will Gore from June on behalf of the NCTJ.
Picture: Reuters/Eric Gaillard