Academic institutions join English IFNC pilot bid

Teesside University and Newcastle College have joined the Trinity Mirror-led partnership bidding to run an Independently Funded News Consortia pilot in north-east England.

The university and college have been added to bring training expertise, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in television and media production.

Neil Benson, Trinity Regionals editorial director and spokesman for the consortium, said: “Teesside University and Newcastle College bring a fresh dimension to our bid.

“We have enjoyed close and very successful relationships with both these academic institutions in the past so we know they have a hugely positive outlook, excellent facilities and a very talented and eager body of students who will contribute a great deal to the bid.”

The consortium now consists of the two academic institutions, Trinity Mirror, the Press Association, Cumbrian newspaper publisher CN Group and production company Ten Alps.

Those companies face a rival bid from regional publishers Johnston Press and Newsquest in collaboration with ITN, and a bid from Northern Irish ITV franchise-holder UTV to run the regional news pilot in the North East.

Prospective news pilots in Scotland and Wales are also being hotly contested between several groups of news media businesses.

Trinity Mirror was one of five bidders to fail to move to the second stage in the process to pick the consortiums to run regional news pilots when its Scottish bid was rejected last week.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport selected eight consortia to move through to the next stage of the selection process for the government’s three independently funded news consortium pilot schemes.

The eight selected bidders – including Trinity Mirror’s North East bid – will now be involved in “detailed dialogue” before the winners for each region are announced in March.

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