The Future of News Media in Wales
Centre for Journalism, Cardiff University
1st October, 2012
Nicola Heywood Thomas with Mark O’Callaghan and Phil Henfrey
"News is consumer driven and journalists have to adapt to how the public want to receive their news". This tweet from a student attending the event summarised one of the key issues facing news media in Wales. The Chair, Nicola Heywood Thomas, navigated us through the decline in traditional news outlets and towards new models, which are still adjusting to technological change and consumer demand.
For the first time, the Wales Centre used a live twitter feed, with a dedicated # tag, screened behind the panellists. The audience’s tweets were then aggregated on Storify.com.
The panel examined the impact of new media, citizen journalism, the promise of local television, convergence and the role of the internet smart TVs. New technology is already delivering benefits. ITV Wales’s Head of News and Programmes, Phil Henfrey, and Mark O' Callaghan, the Head of News and Current Affairs from BBC Wales, described how they both now deploy more reporters in the field and broadcast more local stories. Using broadband, journalists can shoot and edit broadcast quality video and file stories from almost anywhere. Media Wales’s Alan Edmunds made a plea for plurality of TV news provision, saying that, "it is absolutely crucial that ITV Wales remains as strong competition to BBC".
Edmunds suggested that acquiring content would be a particular challenge for local TV, but there was agreement that this new tier of broadcasting was a very welcome development. According to Henfrey, "Local TV might grow interest in current affairs and news, creating a positive halo effect for existing broadcasters". All agreed that in the future as now, brand integrity and relevance to audiences would remain vitally important. 'Trust is all' concluded Edmunds.
Hywel Wiliam / Tim Hartley