The National Conversation

The past month has seen a lot happening in the world of Welsh news. The economic impact of Covid has the potential to decimate a previously fragile industry built on old economic models and failures to foresee and adapt to a rapidly changing digital world.

Jobs are being lost, especially in sales and administration as the companies’ media businesses relied on for advertising revenues struggle to recover themselves from an unprecedented shutdown. Staying home to save lives resulted in casual newspaper sales falling off a cliff, although some glimmers of hope have appeared as home delivery services for some titles have grown.

What is clear is the desire and more importantly the need for good quality, unbiased reporting of the news in Wales has never been greater. You have been telling us this and the politicians have been telling us this.

We know from our extensive research that the only way to develop a sustainable news business today is by creating a service people are willing to pay for, one that provides the required scrutiny and supplies information, that impacts on our daily lives in Wales, in relevant and understandable ways. One that people will see a value in beyond its news coverage, one that gives the people of Wales a voice, one that celebrates and sells Wales on an international stage. Whilst also providing its supporters with additional benefits

This requires detailed business planning and sufficient investment to launch. We are confident that the service we are developing will attract subscribers, in sufficient numbers, to provide the excellent service, you are expecting with a plan to invest in more journalists in more locations as we grow.

We will be publishing a weekly National newspaper at launch, available across the whole of Wales, one that speaks to and on behalf of the whole of Wales. We will be running a comprehensive digital service, bringing you local and national news. We will be producing content in several forms on social media making use of the most up to date and relevant technologies. We want to lead the news agenda in Wales, not follow.

We already have over 230 supporters whose monthly contributions are enabling us to attract external investment and whose support will go directly towards the pay of journalists employed by the new service. The more support we can muster the greater the investment we can attract. It is a fact that without this support we would not be able to launch.

We have accelerated our development plans from our original 5 month pilot to be launched in January 2021, which would take in the Welsh general election in May 2021, to the point where we are 4 to 6 weeks from launch once sufficient investment has been secured. Our discussions with investors are ongoing and, subject to agreeing terms, we will be able to confirm that investment in the coming 7 to 10 days.

We started this project because we knew there was a need for serious national news platform in Wales, one that could rival the current market leaders, The Sun, Metro and Daily Mail, who deliver news from a predominantly English perspective, in print and digitally the BBC. The scale of what we intend to launch is of a much bigger scale than originally envisaged, but thanks to the enthusiasm and response of you the Welsh public and those who see the commercial potential in what we’ll be delivering day in day out for the coming years, we are almost ready to go.

I know we are promising a lot, but we sincerely believe that what we will deliver with exceed your expectations and allow for the start of the national conversation Wales so richly deserves.

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Huw Marshall

Project coordinator

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