The Newspaper Society is seeking meetings with the BBC and BBC Trust to discuss what the proposals outlined in the BBC strategy review will mean for the local media sector.
The NS notes that among the proposals in the review is an undertaking that the BBC won't launch services "more local than at present in England.”
But the NS claims: "In view of past experiences, the industry will need to be convinced that any limitations will be imposed or will work in practice, enabling local newspapers to develop their digital services.”
The strategy review says that the BBC’s local websites “will be refocused to carry only news, sport, weather, travel and local knowledge content. A new ‘contract for local’ will define a series of BBC commitments and limits, including a commitment to never becoming any more local in England – that is, never to increase the BBC’s number of local services on television, radio and online or to make any existing services more local.”
It says the BBC will limit activity by “leaving room for local newspapers and others to develop in a digital world by keeping the BBC’s current pattern of local services, and not launching new services in England at any more local a level than today.”
It points to clearer BBC behaviour by “taking a precautionary approach to market impact, within existing as well as proposed new services.”
The BBC Executive’s proposals are currently subject to a 12-week public consultation which will be completed before the BBC Trust publishes its final conclusions on the review.
NS members were due to consider the proposals at a meeting today.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery