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Golwg aims to help ‘close democratic deficit’

31 July 2019

Sian Powell

The new chief executive of Golwg says the Welsh language news group can help “close the democratic deficit” in Wales.

Siân Powell, whose first week in the job is during National Eisteddfod week, was speaking ahead of a Cardiff University debate on the Maes about the future of print journalism in Wales.

She said: “I’m looking forward to joining this panel for the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol to discuss the future of journalism and print in Wales. Golwg and golwg360 are examples of how print and online can work together.

“The future is bright for the Golwg brand and we have an exciting opportunity as we work closely with golwg360 to enhance the stories that are broken online in order to offer analysis, scrutiny and further interpretation in a weekly magazine.”

In her new role Siân will oversee and develop several publications at Golwg including the news and current affairs magazine itself, the Golwg 360 website and community websites initiative Bro 360.

She believes that Golwg’s strong journalism and multimedia content places it in an ideal position to scrutinise institutions in Wales thoroughly.

“There aren’t many opportunities to scrutinise news stories in Wales and in Welsh, but Golwg are in a unique place to do this and contribute to closing the democratic deficit,” she said.

Siân, a former Cardiff University student and lecturer, is one of a panel of industry experts taking part in the University’s annual media debate at the National Eisteddfod.

The School of Journalism, Media and Culture event - entitled Is there a future for print journalism in Wales? - takes place at the Cardiff University tent on Friday 9 August at 14:00.

Other contributors include BBC Cymru Fyw and BBC Radio Cymru Editor Rhuanedd Richards, Cardiff University community journalism director Emma Meese and Daily Post Executive Editor Dion Jones.

Rhuanedd said: “In a world that’s full of noise, the need for clear and robust news services is stronger than ever in order to empower us to understand the changes around us and to scrutinise our establishments and governments. That is the challenge and it’s important that there is a range of journalistic platforms that can do that in Wales.

“That is what we do daily on Radio Cymru, Cymru Fyw and across the BBC with a team of journalists working in our communities across Wales. I’m looking forward to discussing the world of journalism and the changes and opportunities that it faces with the other panellists and thank Cardiff University for giving that debate a platform.”

Dion said: "Local journalism is key to our success - providing the right, engaging content to our audience how and when they want it.

"The media landscape is changing rapidly but the ability to cover important breaking news as it happens is central to our philosophy."

The media debate, now a popular fixture in the National Eisteddfod programme, will feature lively discussion and an opportunity for the audience to put questions to senior industry figures.

Panellists will consider how print journalism in Wales can survive in the longer term as an increasing amount of content is made available online.

And what are the consequences for Welsh communities and local democracy of the decline of traditional print news?

But the future also offers cause for optimism including the growth in community journalism and how it might develop.

Emma Meese has been instrumental in helping communities create their own hyperlocal news services, including Pobl y Fenni, the first Welsh language service in Abergavenny following the National Eisteddfod's visit in 2016.

Emma, Director of Community Journalism at Cardiff University, said: “We are seeing a real appetite for news at a very local level in Wales, where the independent community news sector is continuing to strengthen and grow.

“Despite us living in a digital era we are seeing a number of publications turn to print, as the traditional advertising model still works at a community level. There is now a potential to see even more publications in Wales produce print editions, due to the Welsh Government’s investment in this sector.”

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