The Media Trust will employ the services of three different consultancies to help it plan, implement and evaluate its three-year-long newsnet citizen journalism project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
The Media Trust describes newsnet as “the UK’s first online network of community reporters, citizen journalists and local storytellers”. The online portal aims to provide local people with a platform to connect and tell their local stories, as well as find resources and share ideas. The ultimate aim is to support community cohesion at a local, regional and national level.
In May, sole funder of the project, the Big Lottery Fund committed £1.89m over three years for the project.
The Trust has engaged communications consultancy Forster to manage the campaign planning, branding, and to drive awareness and participation.
Community engagement specialists SiftGroups will create the website and build the interactive community.
And research and strategy consultancy BOP Consulting will monitor and report on the impact of newsnet as it progresses.
Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust, said: “Helping communities get their voices heard is at the very heart of what Media Trust does. With the reduction of services at local media outlets across the country, providing communities with the tools and networks to tell their own stories now and in the future is an absolutely vital component in improving cohesion in local communities.
“All three of the agencies we have chosen to work with have excellent track records and we are confident that with their support, newsnet will enable hundreds of people to create nationwide discussions on the local issues that matter to them.”