Briefing: Budget cuts by Meta and BBC ‘a hammer blow’ to community journalism

Community reporting in England is under threat, as Meta (formerly Facebook) withdraws a multi-million-pound scheme providing community reporters, and the BBC cuts local radio broadcasting hours to become regional instead. Editors representing local publishing groups said the cut was like a hammer blow and they are trying to secure alternative funding, speaking to MPs for support.

In a Religion Media Centre briefing, they agreed that the future lies in collaboration between all engaged in local community journalism, including independent neighbourhood titles, community broadcasters and the BBC which is planning to hire local digital reporters for more online content. There was also a plea to emphasise that every reporter is a community reporter and all should have the skills and knowledge to enable them to reflect under-reported communities.

Leo Devine hosted this briefing with guests:

  • Amardeep Bassey, community reporter based in the West Midlands
  • Mary Dowson, director and one of the founders of Bradford Community Broadcasting
  • Toby Granville, editorial director at Newsquest Media Group and board director of the National Council for the Training of Journalists
  • Robert Barman, managing editor, KM Media Group, Iliffe Media
  • Helen Dalby, audience and content director, Reach plc
  • Dr Liam McCarthy, honorary fellow, department of history, politics & international relations, Leicester University, and former managing editor of BBC Radio Leicester, Sheffield and Nottingham, and head of BBC local radio training
  • Dr Rachel Matthews, Coventry University, former newspaper reporter and lecturer on regional newspapers and communities
  • Dr David Baines, Newcastle University, lecturer on journalism, localities and communities

To join future RMC briefings, join our mailing list here >>

Full Briefing Video

Podcast Episode

We live tweet all of our briefings – find us at @relmedcentre




Hannah Scott Joynt


Voice-over artist, award winning radio and TV presenter and BBC continuity announcer


Leo Devine

Leo's Local

Media and Training Consultant at Devine Media. Former BBC Journalist, Editor and Senior Leader


Rosie Dawson

Journo's Notebook

Freelance religion journalist, documentary maker and radio producer with 20+ years of experience in the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department

Join our Newsletter