Two years in the making

It is almost precisely two years ago to the day that a discussion started around weaknesses in the Welsh media news landscape, in both the Welsh and English languages. It was clear from what people, from across the political spectrum and those not engaged in politics, felt that Wales was being poorly served, particularly at a national level, and the conversations that followed on social media confirmed this.

The license fee funded BBC has dominated the digital news landscape of Wales in both Welsh and English, and the excellent journalism produced by commercial news outlets in Wales drowns in a sea of clickbait.

With no national newspaper or Welsh editions of UK national papers, It is the Sun, Daily Mail and Metro that are currently influencing the way people see the world in Wales, more often than not delivering news and information that, increasingly, applies to England only.

A great deal of time and effort has gone in to researching and developing a number of alternate business plans, and as our discussions have developed with other interested parties, over the past twenty four months, it has become clear that a unique opportunity is presenting itself. The development of a national service that will include a weekly newspaper, something that was not part of our original thinking, and a digital news service that is not swamped in advertisements, pop ups and auto playing videos. A national service that will be able to compete with the Sun, the Daily Mail and the BBC.

A quality news service that presents the news in an intelligent, relevant, and accessible manner. Our role is not to tell the Welsh public what to think, it is to help the Welsh public come to educated decisions.

Creating a national news service anew is a complex and multi-faceted operation. We are creating a long term and sustainable business that requires different funding streams from the traditional media business models that are currently facing a shaky future due to an over reliance on advertising and print sales.

We will launch as a subscription-based service and build on our current supporter scheme by offering additional benefits in the shape of exclusive content, events, and discussions. The more subscribers we attract, the more we will be able to invest in additional journalists and develop apprenticeships and trainee schemes, ensuring more journalists are embedded in Welsh communities, particularly those who are currently poorly served by local journalism. Developing meaningful partnerships with current local and hyperlocal news outlets, sports websites and blogs.

To deliver the required level of service at launch we are creating four new posts, employing four journalists who will form a new editorial team. Our discussions with investors will conclude this week, this investment will underwrite the wages of those four positions, giving us the security for those first twelve months as we build our subscription and supporter base. We are confident of a positive outcome after two years of hard work.

Those who currently support us, who number 242 at the time of writing have been vital as we have already been able to demonstrate our ability to generate income towards the cost of staffing. The more support we have the greater the level of investment we are able to attract, the greater the level of investment we can attract, the faster we can increase our journalistic head count and start plugging those news gaps that currently exist across Wales.

If you believe in what we are trying to achieve, a truly national, politically neutral, quality news service that presents news from a Welsh perspective, please consider joining us and click on the Patreon tab below.

Diolch

Huw Marshall

Project coordinator

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