A new approach to news in Wales

How we receive and consume news over the last two decades has changed substantially. We now receive our news from a number of sources across a multitude of platforms.

How news is produced and delivered has, to a great extent, not changed, and it is the inability of news producers to innovate and change their business models in relation to these changes that are causing a potential crisis for existing news companies.

Newspapers were dominant until relatively recently. Here in Wales the a decline in newspaper circulation as the illustration below demonstrates.

Circulations continue to fall around 15/20% a year and are reaching a point where publication and distribution will become unviable.

Newspaper publishers thought the solution was to publish their content online, allowing free access to their content in return for revenues generated by online advertising. The revenues generated from physical newspaper sales and the advertising they carried have never been reproduced online. Despite online advertising being expected to overtake print advertising for the first time in the next year or two, it won’t be due to an increase in online advertising revenues which have remained at roughly the same level for the past few years, it will be because print advertising revenues will have fallen to an all-time low.

The sustainability challenges facing the news industry are huge. Established companies have left it too late to pivot and are resorting to increasingly populist content in order to drive eyeballs to their sites, and smaller publishers working in smaller markets and hyperlocals will never generate the page views required to fund their activities through digital advertising alone.

One of the biggest issues, which is rarely discussed, has been the ability of brands and businesses to advertise and market directly to customers via social media. Where once newspapers were the dominant platform for advertisers to reach new and existing customers, the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have allowed companies, big and small, to bypass them. This isn’t just an issue for news publishers, TV and radio have also suffered as a result.

Compounding the problems for traditional news outlets has been the fragmentation of audiences across age and social boundaries. Dwindling revenues have led to fewer staff being employed but with increased pressures to share their output across more and more platforms.

This isn’t a market failure, it’s a failure of existing news publishers to adapt to the market in 2023.

An integrated news service.

At Talking Wales we’re taking a new approach to delivering news. We understand the needs of audiences for Welsh news, here at home and further afield. We know people want to access news on different platforms in relevant formats, there is no longer one size that fits all.

What will make us different?

Owned by you.

Most news outlets in Wales are owned by large companies, these companies exist to make money for their shareholders. These financial pressures have led to a proliferation of populist stories at the expense of public interest news.

Talking Wales is a community benefit society, a cooperative limited company owned by its members. Community benefit societies are required, by law, to reinvest any profits made back into the business for the benefit of the community is serves, in our case you the Welsh public.

You’ll be able to buy shares in Talking Wales and have voting rights at our Annual General Meeting, ensuring we are held accountable and operate in a wholly transparent manner.

A sustainable business model.

As you will have already read, the biggest challenge facing the news industry at present is sustainability. Put simply; making enough money to pay journalists to provide a quality service.

We will generate revenues from multiple sources, but the majority of our income will come from subscriptions. The majority of our online content and all of our content on radio and social media will be free. Subscribers will receive additional benefits, but by contributing monthly they will be investing in us, funding our team of journalists, and enabling them to report on the issues that matter in Wales and across our communities.

We will develop commercial partnerships with companies and organisations that align with our community benefit ethos, arrange events and provide creative digital services for third parties. Having a mix of revenue streams is vital in a modern digital economy.

A service that makes a difference.

Last, but not least, our service. We want to deliver a service that makes a real difference, a service that helps Welsh citizens better understand the country they live in, a service that holds those in power, along with those vying for power, accountable at national and local levels, whilst not forgetting Westminster.

We want to start a national conversation around the future of Wales, devolution, and independence.

How we operate and deliver news will be different. We’re building an integrated newsroom, a collaborative team of journalists and innovative digital practitioners working together across platforms to bring you a truly multi-platform service.

Central to our activities will be the Talking Wales radio station, a digital radio station available via the internet, smart speakers, and the dedicated Talking Wales App. Broadcasting live, initially, three times a day during the week we will follow the stories from Wales as they develop throughout the day, sharing those stories via our website and social media channels.

We will also create regular podcasts, available for download and broadcast as part of our radio schedule.

We will share our stories in full on social media, so if Facebook is where you reside, you’ll be able to read the story in full there, no need to click through to a website unless you want to, and if you do you won’t be met with a maelstrom of adverts.

We’ll publish regular newsletters, so you can get the latest news from Wales straight to your mailbox.

We’ll also be organising in-person and digital events and discussions, creating the opportunity for you to discuss the issues that matter to you and your communities.

As our subscription growth develops, we will extend our live broadcasting hours, and create video content for our YouTube channel, but most importantly we will employ more journalists, across Wales, ensuring each community in Wales has a voice.

We will be sharing details of how you can become a member via our initial share issue in the near future, in the meantime, you can support our work by using the link below.


Huw Marshall

Founder Talking.Wales

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