Independent community publishers, also known as hyper-local publishers, have today been provided with a £200,000 boost, with Economy Minister Ken Skates announcing Welsh Government funding to support the sector.
The fund will look to support publications that are independent of political, commercial, and religious interests; are community-focused and produce contemporary news content and will be made available to eligible Welsh based print and online publications who have been actively publishing for six months or more in Wales.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“We live in a world of unprecedented exposure to news and information, with hyper-local media expected to evolve and stay current, often with very little financial or human resource. These are small businesses, generally employing fewer than four people, but that provide a vital local service to communities the length and breadth of Wales.
“This new funding will build on our commitment to supporting journalists seeking to set up their own business in hyper-local news and will, I hope, through the further development of skills and networks help to sustain and grow the sector, allowing existing hyper-local journalists to broaden their scope and reach within their communities.
“These are important services which deserve our recognition and support and I’m delighted, today, to be able to do just that.”
Director of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN), Emma Meese praised the government on its commitment to hyperlocal news.
“This is a major step forward in recognising the invaluable work of independent community journalists across Wales. Investing in this sector could have a great impact on local journalism, local enterprise and social cohesion.
“We are delighted to be working with Welsh Government to ensure the Independent Community Journalism Fund rewards innovation in the sector and is accessible to those which are most deserving in order to help the sustainability, development and growth of their publication.”
The grant funding is available from 1 April 2019 for one year and is additional to the existing support for businesses through Business Wales.