I’m currently spending a fascinating couple of weeks with colleagues in Bristol, watching how they assemble and broadcast their news service. It’s highlighted a few issues that are worth thinking about in a Welsh context – and for that matter in any regional news operation.
1. How local? I’ve shared stories about our efforts in Wales to make sure our news selection is as widespread as possible. They are doing exactly the same – because relevance is everything when it comes to attracting and retaining the interest of our audiences. And all audiences want more from their part of the world
2. The sense of belonging. Is this where it works best? When we feel part of the community that we are reporting on because the issues that matter to the community clearly matter and have resonance and importance to us? Possibly the answer to point one.
3. Maintaining the quality. I wonder if audiences realise quite how much work goes into getting it right. Slagging off the trade of journalism is a popular pastime. But I’ve rarely noticed regional broadcast or print newsrooms deliberately misrepresent the facts. Instead, reporters and production teams work furiously hard to make sure they deliver as good a product as possible with the time and resources available. So how come the wider public never clocks this?
4. The unexpected is always there to trip you up. Tonight it was a noisy drunk where a live news programme on the anniversary of the Blitz was being broadcast. Other days, it’s the failure of the technology at a crucial moment. We plan for what we can foresee but there is always something that we’ve not considered. As my partner often says ‘expect the unexpected’. A motto for journalists everywhere, I think.