ITN Led Consortium Bids For Border Tyne Tees News Pilot
A consortium of news organisations led by ITN has confirmed it will tender for the recently announced Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) pilot project in the Border and Tyne Tees areas.
Johnston Press, Newsquest Media Group, Metro Radio Ltd and the University of Sunderland will work with the makers of ITV's News at Ten and Channel 4 News to radically transform the manner in which news is developed and delivered to residents in the region, offering a new depth, breadth and reach of local multi-platform video news.
The alliance includes a host of newspaper titles in the region such as the Northern Echo, Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail, Shields Gazette, Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald, Durham Advertiser, Chester-le-Street Advertiser and Darlington & Stockton Times, as well as radio stations Metro Radio, TFM Radio and CFM Radio.
It will join forces with the talented and dynamic ITV staff that provide the current service in the region to form the backbone of the bid, bringing a fresh and innovative approach to local news collection and provision.
The consortium will be supported by broadcaster, writer and novelist Lord Melvyn Bragg as a special adviser on the bid and in helping to shape the new service.
It will also work closely with its university partner and reach out to community media organizations and other commercial media players in order to provide support and an outlet for new voices and providers of news content in each local area.
John Hardie, Chief Executive Officer of ITN, said: 'We're excited to bring together this compelling consortium which combines the very best of commercial journalism in the region, spanning television, print, online and radio.
'This unprecedented alliance will act as a catalyst to revolutionise local news, delivering a ground-breaking new service for viewers. Using the considerable skills and capabilities of our partners combined with ITN's proven journalistic and creative pedigree, we will offer an unparalleled strength in regional and local news coverage available across all platforms.'
Melvyn Bragg said: 'I'm delighted to be part of this group. It will offer a new voice and new opportunities for regional commercial television in areas I've known and worked in for almost 50 years. This could not be better news and I'm pleased to help the consortium in every way I can.'
Lucy West, Head of News, representing the current news team, added: 'I am delighted that our team will be at the centre of this innovative bid. We will aim to build on our strengths and deliver a first class news service to viewers across the North East, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders. We are looking forward to developing new, exciting and ambitious ideas with our partners to provide the best local news service to audiences across all platforms in the Tyne Tees and Border region."
John Fry, Chief Executive of Johnston Press, said: 'This consortium offers a tremendous opportunity to create a whole new approach to local newsgathering. Johnston Press boasts an army of journalists on the ground, embedded at a grass-roots level and very much part of their communities. We look forward to playing a central role in this new era for local news to best serve readers, surfers and viewers in the area.'
Paul Davidson, Chief Executive of Newsquest, said: 'With a broad portfolio of newspapers, including the great daily of the north The Northern Echo and an extensive network of websites across the region, Newsquest brings significant journalistic muscle to this new consortium.
Sally Aitchison, Regional Managing Director, Bauer Radio North East, added: 'This is a unique opportunity to combine our commitment, understanding and connection with local communities to enhance the services offered to residents.'
Graeme Thompson, Dean of Arts, Design and Media at the University of Sunderland, said: 'Our multi-million pound investment in media facilities and our focus on students means we can play a key role in the initiative and allow the consortium to explore fresh thinking and approaches to news generation and delivery in our region.'