Media Trust has restored its Community Newswire, the free national news distribution service for charities, communities and campaigns, run in partnership with the Press Association (PA). The service was shut down in March this year after funding from the Cabinet Office was not renewed. New funding from the Big Lottery has enabled it to be revived.
The service helps helps charities and community groups get their stories into the national and regional media. Stories, press releases and photos are submitted online to Community Newswire, and the best are selected and written up by Press Association journalists and distributed to thousands of newsrooms across the UK.
The service has also been extended to ‘citizen journalists’. Indeed, the Big Lottery Fund’s grant was made “to support citizen journalism to play a greater role in bringing about people-powered change in communities up and down the country.”
Caroline Diehl, Chief Executive of Media Trust, said: “Community Newswire is a unique and vital service. The Big Lottery Fund’s grant reflects their understanding of the communication needs of small charities and their key role in keeping our communities strong and healthy. We are delighted that as a part of that vision we are able to bring Community Newswire back.”
Community Newswire was launched in 2004 and between April 2010 and March 2011, it handled almost 10,000 stories. Of these 70% were from hard to reach groups and 100% satisfaction was reported from the charities using the service, according to the Media Trust.
Stephen Mitchell, Deputy Director of News at BBC, is also on the advisory board. He said: “The relaunch of Community Newswire is really good news. It will allow important stories about communities across Britain to continue to be heard. Community Newswire is a crucial outlet for marginalised voices and I’m delighted that the important work that Media Trust does in this area will continue.”
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