The seminar Widening Ethnic Diversity in the News Industry Workforce: Towards Solutions will coincide with the launch of the Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) pilot schemes; an initiative in which interested parties are invited to bid to produce local content to replace the ITV regional news network.
Newspaper and broadcasting companies, independent producers and universities have formed Independently Financed News Consortia (IFNCs) to bid for around £21m to run three multi-platform pilot news services in Wales, Scotland and the Tyne Tees and Borders region.
But the news industry as a whole has a poor record of reflecting in its workforce the cultural and ethnic diversity of British society – and minority communities are entitled to expect changes if they are sharing the costs of this project.
Speakers at the event on 20 January at Newcastle University include International Federation of Journalists president Jim Boumelha and Bob Satchwell of the Society of Editors.
The two-year series of seminars, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will take place at six universities across England and Wales.
Following news at the end of last year of new bids from partnering media groups for the independently funded news consortia pilots (IFNC) in Wales and the Tyne Tees and Borders region, Scottish broadcaster STV has confirmed its bid in partnership with ITN and Bauer Media for the scheme in Scotland.
This group’s bid will go up against a partnership of Trinity Mirror and production company Macmillan Media, which will include the support of newspapers the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, the Galloway News and the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.
Responding to the announcement of the English pilot region yesterday, John Hardie, ITN CEO, said in a statement:
“We’re excited to be joining forces with the talented staff who provide the current service in the Tyne Tees and Border region and in Wales to create the backbone of our bids for the pilots announced today. We are building a coalition with newspapers, radio and community groups to bring together the best in commercial journalism in each of the regions to offer a compelling multi-platform news service for viewers, listeners and readers.
“IFNCs provide an opportunity to re-invigorate local and regional newsgathering across broadcast, print and online and to ensure that there is an innovative and comprehensive alternative to the BBC. We look forward to playing a key role in this bright new future for local news.”