The INFC panel answered questions on the Wales regional pilot, and all three bidders took questions from the floor.
The future of the Welsh Pilot post general election
Interestingly the INFC panel were not able to confirm that the contract with the winning bid would be finished by the time of the general election.
The Conservatives have repeatedly said that they are opposed to the three regional pilot schemes, and so the panel could not confirm that the contract with the winning bid would survive after the general election.
To be fair it is not really in the panel’s power to make that sort of assurance.
ITV Wales Staff
ITV has not discussed with any of the rival bids, staff outside of their ITV Wales news team. But the ITV Wales building holds staff which work on a much wider spectrum of programs.
Despite repeated questions for the National Union of Journalists representative, none of the bidders could confirm that they would take on staff who are not directly involved in the current news output.
However all three bids were keen to stress that they want to take on and develop ITV Wales’ existing journalists.
Financing local news
All three bids seemed fairly realistic that the two years funding being offered for this pilot was not enough to finance the bids long-term.
All three also seemed to say that once the pilot had been established it would be hard to remove because they would all develop a core Welsh audience.
UTV said that they were unhappy that ITV were effectively getting a news programme for free and not giving anything in return, specifically advertising revenue.
Taliesin were not forthcoming about how they would finance themselves post the two year pilot, and did seem to indicate that more public money would be needed to sustain their bid after the two years of IFNC funding.
Tinopolis where the most open about the fact that they want to get revenue from other streams than just the money being offered from the IFNC. But considering that they want to give away lots of their content without copyrite to ‘citizen journalists’, it was not very clear about how they were going to finance their long-term development.
During the course of the public consultation I live tweeted about the event.
One of the questions I asked the panel was that all three bids seemed to be very similar, because of the parameters that the panel had given.
- All three want a internet hub to aggregate multi platform content which will engage with citizen journalists.
- All three want to provide coverage across the whole of Wales by using journalists from all over Wales. I.e coverage won’t be so Cardiff focused.
- All three want a pool of journalists in the Welsh Assembly to scrutinise and report what goes on. But all three will make sure that what the Assembly does is seen as really relevant to the lives of people in Wales.
- All three want to work with other organisations both within the industry and outside it.
- All three want to develop Grassroots Journalism and escape from their fortresses.
UTV focused on the fact that public money was being used so they should provide a content which has a public service.
I think this is a valid point but surely this is what ITV Wales should be doing now, not what should be happening in the future.
Tinopolis focused on the fact that they are really for open sourcing their content. I think this is great but am concerned about how they will finance this long term.
Sadly Taliesin where not give the opportunity to respond to my question, but have said in other sessions that they are really about a multi platform news provision which works in partnership with grass roots community journalism.
I am concerned that all the things that Taliesin want to do are unfeasible because of the small amount of cash being offered by the IFNC.