The Covid-19 pandemic has raised awareness in the differences that exist between the UK government in Westminster and the Welsh Government in Cardiff it has also, once again, made it obvious how poorly Wales is served by current UK outlets. Matt Hancock being widely introduced as the health minister and talk of the UK NHS has served once more to confuse, and irritate, the Welsh populace.
On Sunday evening, the 10th of May, BBC 1 Wales will broadcast a nationwide address by the prime minister Boris Johnson. Mush of what he is expected to say will, in relation to health and education, apply in England only. Kirsty Williams, the education minister for Wales, made a public announcement this week that schools, in Wales, will remain shut for the foreseeable future, and noted that she and the Welsh Government would not be swayed by decisions made in Westminster.
Social media has been awash with frustration with regards how news, relating to Wales, is reported. The lack of a strong independent media in Wales was referenced in a news item on BBC Radio Cymru quoting Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister, who cited the influence of the UK national media in Wales and how this was impairing efforts of Welsh Government to communicate effectively with the public here. This media deficit is impairing how Wales is governed.
There is also frustration in some quarters around the levels of scrutiny the Welsh Government and its ministers face. Does the lack of a strong independent national news and media service hamper the day to day business of Wales inc.?
Things don’t have to stay this way. We have a plan.
We want to launch a new independent, politically neutral, national media company this September. It won’t be just another website, it will be a fully functioning news service, staffed by journalists, operating digitally and in print, distributing content in different formats across a number of platforms, ensuring relevancy and reach. We will be creating content that leads the news agenda in Wales.
The project is backed by media partners who already operate extensively across Wales and led by Huw Marshall who has experience of developing and delivering large scale media projects in Wales.
Our plan depends on your support. We plan on generating income through advertising, sponsorship and print sales but key to our long-term sustainability will be subscribers. We will offer a number of different packages but initially we would like 5,000 people to pledge £5 a month for 5 months from January 2021 through the end of May 2021. This will coincide with a weekly print edition and take in the period leading up to and the actual Senedd general election which takes place in under 52 weeks on the 6th of May 2021.
We want to ensure when people head for the polls in a years’ time they do so fully briefed on the powers the Senedd holds and armed with the knowledge of each parties policy platforms.
The need for a real national news service for Wales has never been greater, together we can make it a reality.