Media Trust relaunches newswire service for charities

By David Ainsworth, Third Sector Online, 13 September 2011

Media Trust's Community Newswire

Media Trust's Community Newswire

A Big Lottery Fund grant will be used to reopen the Community Newswire service that was closed in March

A free service that helps charities get their stories in national and local media will reopen tomorrow.

The Community Newswire, run by the Media Trust, shut down in March after its funding from the Office for Civil Society came to an end.

It has now received new funding as part of a £1.89m grant from the Big Lottery Fund designed to encourage community and citizen journalism around the UK.

Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust, declined to confirm the precise amount of funding that the project will receive, but said: "The project previously had more than £100,000 a year funding from the OCS. The new funding will be a bit less than that."

The newswire, which the grant will finance for the next three years, allows charities to submit press releases and photos. The most interesting stories are selected and written up by Press Association journalists and sent out to UK newsrooms.

The rest of the Big Lottery Fund grant will be used to encourage community news services by offering expert-led training, free communications advice from media volunteers, film production and distribution, and online information.

"We’re so happy we can continue this service because it was extremely well-used," said Diehl. "When we shut it down, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, got hundreds of emails saying ‘don’t let it close’."

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