New format for Eisteddfod digital newspaper

28 July 2016

Llais y Maes (Voice of the Field), a bilingual digital newspaper run by Cardiff University covering the National Eisteddfod of Wales, returns this year with an exciting new format.

Previously Llais y Maes has been run solely by Cardiff University students, but this year it will bring together students with learners from PeoplePlus Cymru, a leading work-based learning provider which delivers traineeships and apprenticeships on behalf of the Welsh Government.

This year it is hoped that bringing together students and other learners will help create a fresh perspective on a centuries-old tradition of Eisteddfodau, and create new opportunities for young people who are seeking employment.

Llais y Maes, established by Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism in 2013, trains students in key journalistic skills such as creating news content, writing, video editing and social media newsgathering. Students have provided an alternative view of the festival and uncovered exclusives that have made their way into the schedules of BBC Wales, S4C and ITV.

Shelley Bird, Community Champion at PeoplePlusCymru, says: “We are very excited about our learners working together with the Centre for Community Journalism and Cardiff University students on Llais y Maes. This is a fantastic opportunity for our learners to experience being part of a network of digital journalists working bilingually at the festival. Our learners will gain a range of technical and social skills that they can take forward to help them progress into their chosen careers in the future.”

Llais y Maes alumni have gone on to find jobs in organisations such as S4C and BBC Wales, helped by the skills they honed on the fields of the Eisteddfod. Sophie Gardner-Roberts, a French national who had never been to a National Eisteddfod before, took part in Llais y Maes 2015 and has since landed her ideal job as an editorial assistant at Archant, working across its portfolio of French magazines.

Sophie says: “Llais y Maes turned out to be one of the best experiences I had during my masters at Cardiff University. Working on a digital newspaper proved to be essential experience for me as digital news and online storytelling becomes increasingly important in our field and I’m already using what I learnt there in my current job. Diolch!”

Manager of Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism, Emma Meese (former senior producer at the BBC), and Welsh language journalism lecturer, Sian Morgan Lloyd (former ITV reporter and deputy editor of Y Byd ar Bedwar), will manage the news service, providing participants with the highest standard of journalistic training. Sian now runs the Welsh language provision at the University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and this year students studying journalism through the medium of Welsh form a core part of the Llais y Maes team. Welsh-language students who have taken part in Llais y Maes have also chosen to take advantage of Cardiff University’s new Welsh language provision for journalism studies as a direct result of their experience.

Interviewing

Emma Meese says: “We are delighted to bring back Llais y Maes with a brand new format, and we hope that both Cardiff University students and PeoplePlus Cymru learners will gain a lot from each other and develop new skills to help further their careers. Each year our Llais y Maes team have uncovered scoops and interviewed notable figures in Welsh life – from BBC One Show presenter Alex Jones to First Minister Carwyn Jones – and we cannot wait to see what they come up with this year.”

Since being established in 2013, Llais y Maes has left a lasting legacy in the host communities for each National Eisteddfod, inspiring new community news services such as Pobl Dinefwr which was established in Carmarthenshire after the festival in 2014. Now it is hoped that a community group based in Abergavenny will similarly take on the legacy of Llais y Maes with a new hyperlocal service.

Cardiff University launched the UK’s first academic Centre for Community Journalism in 2013 as one of Cardiff University’s flagship engagement projects, which aim to transform communities in Cardiff, Wales and beyond. The Centre for Community Journalism researches into this growing sector and offers networking, information and training for community journalists. The University's flagship engagement projects work with communities on issues such as tackling poverty, boosting the economy, and improving health, education and wellbeing.