For those of you who have been reading our updates (they’re available here for those who haven’t) we have discussed at length the precarious state of independent news provision in Wales, in particular public interest news and journalism.
As news publishers come under increasing pressure to generate revenues for shareholders and owners a gradual shift away from public-interest news is happening with increased reliance on populist, centralised content that has been created by specialist Search Engine Optimisation teams.
In short, we are being served fewer real news stories and an ever more increasing number of populist stories, many of which have no real news value or local relevance.
Research also shows that audiences are getting news from an increased number of sources via an array of platforms. This, by its very nature, is creating challenges for traditional news providers to compete for audiences and income.
Twenty-five years ago The Western Mail was widely read across the south, selling over 40,000 copies a day. Today that number has dwindled to just over 6,000. The loss of revenues from newspaper sales combined with the advertising they once carried has seen news companies make substantial efficiencies.
A number of UK and global news publishers are planning on making journalists redundant as they bid to make savings in order to protect profits.
In the coming months and years, we will see once popular trusted local news titles disappear with a real risk of nothing appearing in their place.
Research conducted here in Wales also shows that people want to have access to public-interest news stories.
Reporting events from the Senedd and your local council is central to ensuring Welsh citizens are kept informed of the events and issues that impact their daily lives. An educated electorate can make more informed decisions at the ballot box as well as, hopefully, encourage more people to engage with democracy at both local and national levels.
That’s why we’re creating Talking Wales.
We’re taking the lessons learnt from our previous experiences at The National Wales and combining this knowledge with research carried out by ourselves and other individuals and organisations in the field of public interest news to deliver a new kind of news service for Wales.
Audiences today are everywhere, sourcing their news from a range of destinations, but perhaps more importantly many are simply not accessing public interest news. That’s why we’re creating a service that operates across a range of formats and platforms, focussing on quality not quantity.
Each morning we’ll be broadcasting live between 7:30 and 9 am via the Talking Wales digital radio platform, available to hear online, via your smart speaker or the Talking Wales mobile app. You’ll be able to receive daily newsletters and read the stories of the day on our website.
We’ll be on air again between 12 and 2 pm and 5 until 7 pm each weekday with special shows looking at the news and current affairs of Wales each weekend.
We’ll also be sharing our news on social media, no need to click through to read a story, we’ll let you know what’s happening in Wales on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and WhatsApp, making the best use of video, audio and text so you can follow the news easily and conveniently throughout the day in the format and on the platform of your choice.
It’s not only how we’ll be sharing news that’s different.
We’re setting up as a cooperative, a Community Benefit Society in which you will be able to own a stake, investing in the future of public interest journalism in Wales and having your say in how the company is run at our annual general meeting.
As a CBS we will be required by law to reinvest any profits generated for the benefit of the community we serve. In our case, that means employing more journalists and providing better coverage of devolved matters like health and education.
We’ll also bring you opinions from people who are recognised experts in their fields or who represent a specific community in Wales. Arts and culture along with the environment will also feature as we know that these are issues that matter to the people of Wales, those living here and those with a connection who live further afield.
Employing a team of seven journalists at launch supported by a small but dedicated digital, sales and marketing team we want to hit the ground running.
We’ll be sharing our prospectus soon which will contain our detailed business plan and more information on our short, mid, and long-term goals allowing you to decide if you want to be part of this exciting venture by purchasing a share in the company.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll start piloting content to give you a taste of the service you can expect from us.
And you can support us now as we continue our work setting up the new venture by clicking on the link below.
We’re also keen to hear from individuals who would be interested in joining our board. If you have a knowledge of public interest journalism and current affairs in Wales or experience in fundraising or media regulation, we’d love to hear from you.
Together we can safeguard a future for public interest journalism in Wales.
If you’d like to learn more about the project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder Talking Wales