A call for Government help to save around 100 community news jobs following tech giant Meta’s decision to end support for UK newsrooms has been backed by our Group Editorial Director Emily Woolfe.
Facebook owner Meta announced earlier this month that it intends to withdraw funding for the Community News Project (CNP), which supports around 100 local reporter roles across the UK.
The decision means reporters employed on a two-year contract leading up to the Diploma in Journalism, including four working for Tindle titles, will have their contracts honoured. Howeverthe withdrawal of funding by the end of 2023 means the current cohort will not be supported by Meta to go on to take the National Qualification in Journalism.
Group Editorial Director Emily Woolfe has lent her support to a group of five regional press executives who have written to the Government seeking a meeting with ministers to discuss alternative sources of funding to enable the project to continue, including potential support from the National Lottery.
They wrote to Culture and Media Secretary Lucy Frazer earlier this week asking the government to take up the issue with Meta with the aim of persuading the tech giant to reverse its decision.
The letter said: “We would be grateful for the Government’s support in writing to Meta, highlighting concerns about their recent decision and the loss of the CNP scheme.
“Additionally, we would welcome a meeting with you to discuss securing alternative funding (for example, via the National Lottery fund) to enable the scheme to continue if Meta refuses to reconsider its decision.”
Emily said: “We are proud to have four CNP reporters in the current cohort, offering us an incredible opportunity to provide news coverage in under-reported areas, while also allowing people access into journalism who may otherwise not have been able to. I – and we – therefore give this letter our full backing and urge the Government to lend its support.”
The CNP Tindle reporters cover the Wellington region in Somerset, the Tamar Valley on the Devon and Cornwall border and the farming communities throughout Mid-Devon. A fourth CNP reporter reports on the communities around Aberystwyth, including Welsh language speakers.
Meta has paid for the training and employment of more than 260 regional journalists through the Community News Project since its launch in 2018 through a total $17m of funding.