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Stratford Herald to benefit from £6m community reporter scheme

THE Stratford Herald is among 14 publishers to become part of a £6million scheme which funds community reporters.

Run by Meta – the parent company of Facebook – the Community News Project (CNP) will create 18 additional community reporter roles, including one to cover parts of south Warwickshire.

The project was launched in 2019 as a partnership between the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), Meta and nine regional news publishers, and aims to support quality local journalism and improve the diversity of UK newsrooms.

In total, around 100 community reporter roles have been created across the country.

Andy Veale, editor of the Stratford Herald, said: “We are delighted to become part of the CNP.

“We know there are areas of south Warwickshire we would like to cover in more depth, but as a small, family-owned newspaper our resources are limited.

“Being part of the CNP will give us the opportunity to get into more communities, increase our coverage and tackle the issues that really matter.”

He added: “We will soon start our search for our community reporter to join the Herald’s team and will be looking for someone who is passionate about the area, has a real understanding of the issues and can help keep communities connected.

“No previous experience of journalism is required as the CNP provides funding for training – enthusiasm and a love of south Warwickshire is key.”

The Herald, along with the other successful publishers, had to go through a tender process to apply for funding, demonstrating how and where a CNP reporter would operate as well as committing to providing suitable support in the newsroom and NCTJ training.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “This brilliant project continues to be a success story for the industry thanks to Meta’s on-going investment and the support of the publishers involved in the scheme.

“It already had diversity at its core with more than 60 per cent of the reporters coming from under-represented backgrounds to report on 80 previously underserved communities.

“With a welcome increase in funding and 23 wide-ranging news media partners now covering 100 communities, we have an even more diverse range of publishers involved in the scheme who are as committed as we are to the sustainability of quality, trusted local news journalism.

“We had the challenge of making sure the funding goes where it will be effective so it had to be a rigorous tender process, which involved some tough decisions. Those who were successful put forward the best proposals for recruiting, training and qualifying people who will benefit their communities.”

Sarah Brown, head of local news partnerships, Northern Europe at Meta, said: “At the heart of the CNP is a goal to surface real-life stories from under-represented groups from our first ever Welsh language title in Aberystwyth to the African and South American communities in London.

“We look forward to working with the NCTJ and our publishing partners in onboarding a new cohort of trainees who will share stories and viewpoints that don’t often get told.”

The 14 new publishers, and the 18 communities they will serve, include the Scottish west coast island of Bute, seven deprived parts of Brighton and Hove, Stowmarket, Lower Annandale, Eskdale and the borders, Tottenham, African community in Peckham and Latin American community in Elephant and Castle, south London, and Welsh language communities in Aberystwyth.

To register your interest in becoming a community reporter, email andy.veale@stratford-herald.com.

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