Just when regional publishers have beaten off a bid by the BBC to expand its local web sites...along comes The Guardian.
PaidContent:UK, whose parent company is a subsidiary of the Guardian group, reports here today that Guardian Media Group is considering starting news websites to serve local communities. Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger is quoted by former Press Gazette staffer Patrick Smith as saying: "There’s plainly an interesting opportunity there… if the existing players don’t manage it.” PaidContent:UK was following up an earlier story from North West media website How-Do which claimed GMG was researching a Guardian-branded “Guardian Cities” project to “connect you with your local community, cover local issues and provide you with information that was highly relevant to your area”. According to How-Do, GMG is looking at launching a website to cover the whole of Manchester.
Rusbridger has suggested ailing regional newspapers might need Government cash. He said of the blocked BBC plans to beef up its local websites with video reports: “I’m sure some forms of local news coverage will replace it, whether it’s the current (print) players because they’re burdened down with debt, or not… "
That's not going to leave the victorious regional publishers (outside GMG) very happy.