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The People's Newsroom 

Hello everyone, we have some really exciting news about a new initiative we are launching off the back of some long standing relationships and feedback we've had with this network. 

Last year, we ran a programme that invited people from across the UK to “Change the Story” of our industry with us. The project culminated with a chorus voices speaking out about the media’s lack of relevance, representation, accessibility and trust and the outright harm inflicted on our communities. 

I’ll always be struck by a collaborator who told us: “I don’t see many people like me on the news, but I’m quite happy about that. I don’t trust the news trying to tell our stories”. Another said that traditional media happens in “a completely different world” from the one in which they live. Journalism felt like part of the problem their community faces, rather than a potential solution. 

Since then, we’ve acted, hosting public events and making collective commitments to Decolonise the News and create News You Can Use. Crucially, the project also produced an open manifesto for a People’s Newsroom, which was co-created with all of you. It has become the Bureau Local’s reporting mandate and the spark within our organisation to take greater steps in the fight for the sustainability of community journalism. Now, we’re putting even more muscle behind it and launching a programme to support the creation and sustainability of community journalism projects. 

Read our blog and find about how this initiative was formed

The People's Newsroom initiative:

We're setting out to build community power through journalism. The People's Newsroom is an initiative to ensure newsrooms are created by, with and for everyone. 

We want to help redefine journalism – who it’s owned by, made by and who it serves. We want to support the many communities failed by the media or who have no news provider to inform them, represent them or adequately reflect their experiences. We want to build an industry that’s representative of all our communities by providing them with everything they need to create newsrooms that belong to everyone, redress harms and grow local power. 

To do this, we’re building a coalition of people and organisations to ensure that the tools to do this are available to everyone. We’ll be exploring:

  • A new pipeline into media ownership. Hands-on business and startup support to design innovative journalism projects and invest in community newsroom leaders traditionally marginalised by the media. 
  • Shared back-office support (legal, operational, production) to lower barriers to entry and share costs and technology. 
  • Editorial resources to help support the running of equitable community newsrooms that serve the public interest.

We’re partnering with the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales (EYST), Lankelly Chase and Clwstwr to research, design and build a new community journalism project in Swansea. This process will inform the development of the full initiative as we roll it out across the UK next year (2022).

We’re asking people to join the coalition and help us grow it to make the People’s Newsroom a reality. 

Get involved:

Join the coalition
We want to collaborate with those who’ve successfully set up community newsrooms, those building them as we speak and those aspiring to do so. We want to hear from newsrooms, organisations and funders who want to collaborate on this project and help us all succeed together.  Join the coalition.

Join our online launch event 
On Thursday 9 September at 1pm we'll be having a public discussion on the challenges that our communities face and how a new approach to journalism can build power and spark positive change.  Save your spot!

Help us spread the word
Help us grow the coalition by sharing the project and our tweet

Meet the team:

Hi, I’m Shazia. I work for the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales (EYST), and I’ll be building a unique community journalism platform around the network of remarkable communities that EYST has been supporting for more than 15 years. This project will centre on us as ethnic minority communities, "Telling Our Own Stories", as we have done with our We are Wales campaign.

My long-held penchant for media, and complex relationship with the news, has always been something that defined me. Being Bangladeshi, Muslim and working-class, I've consumed media that has so often been a misrepresentation and distortion of my identity. It impacted me deeply growing up and I’ve watched it continually damage my communities. I’ve learned a huge amount in my study of journalism at Cardiff University and as a local reporter for broadcast news in Swansea. But ultimately, I've learned that news can only be truly representative, anti-racist and serve our communities, if we tell our own stories.
 

Hi, I’m Shirish, one of the Community Organisers at Bureau Local. I’m leading on the newsroom design part of the People’s Newsroom Initiative, starting by working with EYST to build an inclusive and representative journalism project by and for marginalised people and communities in Swansea.

After more than 25 years working in legacy newsrooms, I’ve seen first-hand the damage that journalism has done to many of those communities. But I also know that journalism can be a hugely positive force – helping build community power and being part of the solution, not the problem. 
 

Hi there, I’m Megan, the Director of Bureau Local. I am leading on the development and scalability of the People’s Newsroom initiative. By working with EYST to create a new newsroom in Swansea, I’ll be focused on sharing learnings and building a pilot programme that can support more people across the UK to follow in their footsteps and build their own community journalism projects. As part of this, I’ll be working with all of you in this coalition to test, co-create and build what is needed to get us there.

For too long, I’ve waited for “the industry” to meaningfully respond to our local news and information crisis and redress its role in perpetuating racism and inequality. But I’ve realised those of us fighting for a reimagination of news, its ownership and its service to communities can and should be the forces driving change. If inequality is the result of poor design, then it can and must be designed anew. I’m looking forward to making that a reality with all of you. 

Keen for more? Here's our recommended reading:

Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch by emailing Megan at meganlucero@tbij.com.
- The People's Newsroom team: Shazia, Shirish and Megan
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