Addendum to CWLC committee evidence:

Precedents of contestable funding being used to support local news innovation

While giving oral evidence to the committee’s inquiry into Welsh news media we were asked for indicative costs for contestable funding schemes for local news. Dr Martin Moore’s Positive Plurality report (, pp.27-36), which addresses existing and potential future policies to support local news, offers detailed insights into:

1.   the amounts and ranges of funding delivered by different UK and US schemes;

2.   the varying size and scope of such schemes (some a relatively small and bounded, others are much bigger and more ambitious);

3.   the importance of considering the criteria for success relevant to the aims and objectives;

4.   the need to consider the mechanisms for delivery, and the evaluation of success; and

5.   the suitability of contestable funding for the UK context.

Notably this report pre-dates the Google Digital News Initiative (DNI), a large EU-wide fund offering grants from a 3-year funding pot of €150million, which has been the largest contestable funding project in the UK in recent years.

Particularly important in this case is the make-up of the fund team and assessors – Google very clearly went with a group of journalists with experience working at community level, but also with excellent knowledge of tech trends in the local news sector and experience of dealing with potentially risky grant allocation. The make-up of the team is essential, and it’s generally accepted that Google have done well in the blend of approaches, outlooks, cutting edge experience, and knowledge of relevant news industry sectors (more info here:

The scheme is also interesting in the way that Google tiered the size of awards offered, and likewise the amount of information demanded in grant applications.

While collating this information we contacted Dr Martin Moore (, Kings College London, previously, Media Standards Trust) and Will Perrin (, Talk About Local), both of whom are experts in the provision and delivery of contestable funding for media across the world. They would be very happy to offer further advice and assistance if needed.