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Cardiff aims to secure a future for local news

8 December 2014

  Cardiff aims to secure a future for local news
Image credit: Rachel Howells

There will be a public meeting on 27 January next year at The Centre, Baglan, to discuss plans for Port Talbot Magnet as it enters this next phase of development.

Rachel Howells is one of the founding directors of Port Talbot Magnet and a former Editor of Big Issue Cymru.

She is also examining the hyperlocal news sector in her PhD at the University's School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

"The Magnet grew from seven journalists wanting to establish a dedicated community news service for Port Talbot," she said.

"The grant funding from the Carnegie Trust enabled us to establish a printed newspaper that is just for Port Talbot, serving a much greater audience because of the door-to-door distribution we do.

"But we still need to keep working to secure the future of local news in Port Talbot. That's why we are very excited to work with the Centre for Community Journalism.

"We want to develop the website, increase the regularity of the newspaper and engage with more local people.

"We also hope our news service will complement and enhance traditional media, by offering another voice, and also by reporting grass roots stories that they might not have the resources to cover, improving the media landscape for everyone.

"This will be a great legacy of the Carnegie Trust's investment and we look forward to working with the Centre for Community Journalism to continue our journey to sustainability."

Douglas White, Head of Advocacy at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: "It has been great to work with Rachel and the team over the past two years and to have helped the Port Talbot Magnet move towards sustainability through their printed newspaper.

"We're delighted that they are now working with the Centre for Community Journalism to help them complete their journey.

"Our new report shows that in return for a small investment, the Port Talbot Magnet and our other Carnegie Partners provided good value for money, focused on local issues and brought their communities together.

"Based on their experiences, we've recommended a package of support measures to help local news organisations across the UK to flourish and grow. "

The University launched the UK's first academic Centre for Community Journalism last year. It researches into this growing sector and offers networking, information and training for community journalists.

As one of Cardiff University's flagship engagement projects, the centre aims to set up or improve ten community news services in Wales, including the Port Talbot Magnet.

The University's flagship engagement projects work with communities on issues such as tackling poverty, boosting the economy, and improving health, education and wellbeing.