The nature of news consumption is changing, and in Wales how people interact with media is markedly different to the rest of the UK.
News provision in Wales has been historically poor at a national level and our efforts to address this deficit by launching The National Wales in March 2021 were ultimately undone by the developing cost of living crisis. Subscriber growth slowed then reversed as people started to make cutbacks in order to maintain their financial situations.
Whilst the service was a success and warmly received, and received critical acclaim, the timing of its launch and external economic factors put paid to its development. News of its demise was met with a great deal of sadness as comments on social media displayed.
So what does the future hold?
There is clearly a deficit when it comes to independent news provision in Wales, the need for an independent, quality news service that can operate at a scale to compete with the major players in the Welsh news landscape, The Daily Mail, The Sun and the BBC has never been greater.
The current and predicted worsening economic climate will likely lead to a contraction of news provision in Wales this at a time when news consumption habits are changing rapidly. New business models are required along with the development of new working practices and the new set of skills needed to satisfy Wales’ varied audiences and communities.
So what next?
We’re creating Talking Wales, a publicly owned company which will deliver the independent news and media service Wales so desperately needs. We are being assisted by Cwmpas Wales, formerly the Wales cooperative centre, in order to ensure that the best ownership model is put in place. It will be owned by its audience, its employees and those who see the value in a strong independent Welsh media, as a co-operative it will be wholly transparent, publishing annual reports and accounts overseen by an arms-length independent board. It will be a for-profit company with those profits being used to invest in new services and support the development of new community ventures.
Talking Wales will serve the interests of Wales not the interests of shareholders or company directors who seek to profit from news.
How will it work?
Talking Wales will do exactly that, it will be a platform to discuss and report on the events and issues that affect the day-to-day lives of Welsh citizens. It will lead to a discussion around the future of Wales. The days of the news website are numbered so Talking Wales will operate in a range of formats across a number of platforms, online, print, social media and making the best use of video and audio in order to keep the public informed.
It will be big, bold and ambitious. and with your support it will succeed.