What’s Happening:

A major new initiative for local journalism in the United Kingdom was announced on March 21 when two of the country’s largest regional news publishers, Reach PLC and JPI Media, and an innovative new podcast platform, Entale, teamed up to launch a project called Laudable.

Laudable, which aims to kickstart local news in audio form, was also backed with a 500,000 Euro grant from Google’s Digital News Initiative. This funding will go towards developing new platforms for local audio, and identifying ways of making podcasts and other audio projects sustainable through revenue.

Why It Matters:

Laudable aims to facilitate the creation of new audio programs in regional newsrooms across the UK, with a particular focus on working with communities to connect people whose voices are not currently heard in local news. Laudable will also work to create cross-company podcasts, involving journalists from multiple publishers to create engaging series..

Digging Deeper:

Journalists from various publishers will work in the Entale platform to add pictures, maps, links, quotes and chapters to their content for a rich, interactive experience. The new partnership will allow journalists to collaborate within local communities across the country, and with other publishers, to deliver engaging content on a new platform that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, said Jeremy Clifford, editor-in-chief of JPIMedia.

“We know how podcasting is becoming increasingly popular and is a skill that our journalists need to be equipped with, whether that is for creating engaging chatty and insightful commentary about football or more pithy incisive debate around politics,” Clifford said.

David Higgerson, chief audience officer at Reach PLC, added that Laudable would give their journalists the chance to unlock their expertise in a new way of storytelling to reach new audiences and engage existing ones in a new way.

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“We are particularly excited about the chance to bring together experts from across companies to create must-listen content about things which matter to readers,” Higgerson said. “It will also help us create audio around subjects which don’t get much of a show at the moment. We know true crime works, as does football, but what else can we achieve by listening to what our readers are interested in?”

The Bottom Line:

The mission of the project is to make podcasting more engaging for audiences and more rewarding for creators through the interactive and shareable platform. Once up and running, it is hoped that Laudable will support publishers across the UK, beyond the two which submitted the bid. The project will also pioneer new ways for local advertisers to connect with local audiences through audio.

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