GRANGETOWN residents are launching a free paper to improve coverage of community news in their area.
More than 30 people met in the new community hub on Havelock Place to discuss ideas for the newspaper that will be launched before Easter.
The plan is to turn the current community magazine into a more regular printed newspaper publishing hard-hitting hyperlocal stories.
Residents are being helped by the Community Journalism department of Cardiff University’s School of Journalism and Grangetown Community Action group.
The magazine, Grangetown Community News, was set up in 1978 with the help of government grants, but it is hoped the newspaper will be funded through advertising.
The group has also set up an online news site. Emma Meese, media and development community manager at Cardiff University, said the group hopes to change its layout and publish online weekly rather than monthly.
She said: “We are facing the decline of print because we are fewer people are buying newspapers. There are fewer local reporters and less local reporting of what is on the ground. News is being a lot more centralised and less focussed on local issues therefore we have to move with the times.
“With the Web I know what is happening in other parts of the world but I do not know what is happening on my street which is why I think this type of project is important. This project is for you, the members of the Grangetown community. We want to help move Grangetown news forward because everyone is not going to be online.”
The hope is that residents will volunteer by editing, writing and updating the social media sites working as much or as little as they wanted.
Councillor Chris Lomax, who attended the event, said: “We hope to publish four times a year as it will bring local people together. Not everyone is interested in the same things but there is something for everyone. Examples of this include the local history society and things like gardening projects that are happening in our town. The news we write about is the cohesion of the community. We all belong together and the newspaper reflects this. Meeting here tonight is how we get people involved.”
Ashley Lister, 22, of Clive Street, secretary of Grangetown Community Action, said: “The publication of more newspapers and updating our website is good because not everyone is on social media or online. I make sure there is a good balance and make sure things get published. A lot of stories are from schools and sports groups but we want to expand and publish other things with the launch of this new newspaper.”
The community journalism department will train volunteers in photography, IT and transferable skills.
Mrs Meese said: “We are here to listen to what you want, not tell you what to do. You can get involved by delivering newsletters or you can even write or help with the online aspects as well and we will deliver help accordingly.”
Over the years the magazine could be picked up for free from the library or delivered to their homes. Sean Kisby, a civil servant of Tynant Street, has been delivering newsletters around Grangetown for years.
“By delivering the news I feel like I am taking part in the community again. I have lived in Grangetown for over 20 years and do this because I feel I should be playing a bigger part and should be engaging and finding out who my neighbours are in the community,” he said.
Bobby Singh, a 26-year-old youth and community worker of York Street, said: “I have decided to get involved today because I care about people and the issues in the area. I am actually from Canton but offer my services to the community. This project is appealing and a good way for the younger generation to get involved.”
Graduate Clement Williams, 23, of Richards Terrace, said: “I feel my background in journalism will help and as a member of this community I think the idea of expanding the newspaper of Grangetown is really important and a great way to get everyone together and be a part of something big.”
Grangetown Community Action would like more volunteers. A second meeting will be held in the library hub on February 18 at 7pm.
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