The National Association of Press Agencies has urged the BBC to start buying in local content from its members.
The suggestion follows news from BBC head of news James Harding earlier this month that the corporation is investigating ways to buy content from local newspapers.
- August 21, 2017
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NAPA chairman Jon Harris, also MD of Manchester-based Cavendish Press, said: “I’m not sure why the BBC would turn to local papers for their news content when sadly quality journalism is being affected by the culling of jobs and the closure of publications in the interests of furthering a web based agenda.
“The reality is quality journalism is better achieved if journalists are out there in the field meeting people and making contacts.
“Unfortunately some regionals appear to be heading towards a call centre business model where staff never leave the office. But you cannot rely on the phone, the internet and social media to get stories.
"Press agencies like those in NAPA have staff present in courts, on the doorsteps and at the news conferences and media briefings.
“They represent the true training ground of the future journalists who learn the proper way how to source and compile stories and pictures – rather than sitting at a desk with headset on.
“Unlike newspapers, magazines, websites and broadcasters who are subsidised by advertising or licence fee, press agencies have to pay their own way to provide the most important stories of the day – compiled to the best possible standard and more often than not with a picture package included.
“Our media partners on the UK national papers or magazines know that if they want a reporter on the ground anywhere in the country, they simply need to find the agency that covers that patch.
“That means that the BBC has a ready-made network for local news that they can access not just for courts, but for any key regional news."
The BBC used to make extensive use of local press agencies, but according to NAPA vice chairman Michael Ledig budgets disappeared overnight.
Leidig said: "NAPA agencies are not looking for any favours, our material is published because we deliver first and we are the best, and we get it right, and all the BBC needs to do to is put a budget on the table and it could start tomorrow."