Internews has announced a new partnership with the British Community Media Association (CMA) with financial support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.
The Transmit, Transform project is a landmark initiative designed to cement the vital social role of grassroots, volunteer-led media in the UK. It is also Internews’ first UK-based domestic project, with the bulk of its work focused on supporting media in fragile states or emerging democracies.
In the UK, funding and training will be used to strengthen the financial sustainability of community radio stations as well as increase the quality of local journalism and current affairs content, to demonstrate the positive impact it can have on local communities and social cohesion.
Daniel Bruce, Internews’ Chief Executive in Europe, commented: “We view the survival and growth of community media as essential to countering both the decline of the local news industry in the UK, as well as ever growing concerns about disinformation or ‘fake news’.
“I’m incredibly excited to be working with the CMA and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to bring this essential project to life. I’ve heard and experienced some truly inspirational content produced by community radio and other platforms in the UK. We want to see this sector strengthened to achieve its full potential for the benefit of all communities and the voices within them.”
In the first year, up to four community media organisations are set to benefit from grant funding, for which they will be invited to compete through a national call for the best content and business development ideas. Professional journalism trainers will also hold workshops and on-going mentoring for the selected stations to improve their content and long-term sustainability.
There will also be a number of national initiatives for the wider membership of the Community Media Association to benefit from this new partnership. Support will be extended to more outlets in 2019 as funding from other sources is expected to increase.
Lucinda Guy, Chair of the CMA, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Internews and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust on Transmit, Transform. This project sets out to deliver a number of clear benefits for the community media sector: grants available to support community journalism and improved business practice backed up with a solid package of training."
CMA Operations Manager, Bill Best, added, “A strong and healthy community media sector plays a very significant role in supporting media literacy, promoting democracy, and providing a voice for the otherwise unheard.”
A detailed call for proposals will be released at the end of April, with applications due in June 2018. The first wave of training and business development projects will be implemented in the second half of 2018.
(Banner image: Desi Radio, Southall. Credit British Community Media Association)