BBC to roll out 'stringer' trial

A BBC Radio Berkshire initiative that turns listeners into stringers, filing news stories for the station, is likely to be rolled out across the BBC local radio network.

The station launched "Berkshire Stringers", recruiting members of the public to work as the eyes and ears of the radio station.

The project now has over 40 members of the public involved, who act as a source of stories for the news team, flagging up stories that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. In some cases the station uses a voice clip of the stringer telling the story in their own words.

Joe Wise, news editor at BBC Radio Berkshire, said the project had already been a huge hit with the listeners.

He said: "You can never get too many good stories. One person supplied a story about some homes getting flooded by raw sewage, another one filed quite a good piece about a big housing development and we're working on one at the moment who told his story about a disabled person falling victim to happy slappers."

Stringers are not paid, but in return for their efforts, they will become "special friends" of the station and be invited to BBC Radio Berkshire events.

Wise said: "I think it is getting us closer to the communities. We're picking up the stories that are important to the people out there. It's not always the stories that we think should be important, it's the ones that really are."

BBC Radio Berkshire is pioneering the project, but Wise said that it is likely to be taken up by quite a few more BBC local radio stations, if not all of them.

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