Carwyn Jones and regional news

Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales.

One day after plans for independently funded news consortiums in Wales were dropped by the coalition government, First Minister Carwyn Jones decided to pay a visit to the Cardiff School of Journalism.

Unfortunately he chose to visit one week after the broadcast postgraduate diploma course had finished, which meant that there were almost no students to greet him or show him how to work a TV studio.

Still in a question and answer session he did answer some tricky questions.
Listen!

Anger at Welsh Media

Carwyn expressed frustration that the independently funded news consortium had been dropped. When asked about ITV he said that he was seriously concerned about the future of news on commercial networks.

He didn’t think that the proposal for city TV stations to provide news would work, especially considering that in his words the Manchester station was “failing”.

He admitted that he had little confidence in commercial interests to maintain a high standard of news output, with concerns that if ITV were ever taken over local news would be removed from programming.

Labour Leadership

He refused to reveal who he would support in the Labour Leadership contest because he needed to maintain a professional relationship with whoever came to power.

In the Q&A session he felt that the sheer number of candidates for Labour Leader meant that it would be a diverse and interesting race.

However in a later radio interview with me he acknowledged that the Labour party needs to do more to promote people of diversity to positions of leadership.

Referendum

Throughout his meeting with students Carwyn laid out his criticisms of the current legislative competence order system.

He acknowledged that he will lead a Yes campaign in a referendum on further powers because under the current system “everything had to be done twice” which means that it took a long time and cost a lot of money.

Finally cuts

Newspaper students pressed the First Minister to reveal details of where cuts will be made in public spending.

Carwyn said that his focus was to protect schools and hospitals but that everything else was scheduled for review. When pushed further he revealed that there would be cuts to the Arts budget, but that this was more of a token cut, since this area of expenditure is very small.

Cuts will be announced by the end of the summer, with plans for a referendum on devolution promised for spring of next year.

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