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  5. Highfield calls for new partnership between local papers and BBC

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield has called for the BBC to establish a proper commercial relationship with regional newspaper publishers after a pilot cooperation scheme in Yorkshire failed to live up to expectations.
Speaking at the Newspaper Society annual general meeting last Friday, he said: “The BBC purports to support regional press, yet seems to be wishing for its demise by questioning – at what seems like every opportunity – whether local newspapers are already dead.”
He went on to repeat warnings that the BBC could ultimately wipe out local newspapers if its commercial expenditure was not restrained in some way.
He said: “The Newspaper Society, and me personally, were keen to explore a more positive, symbiotic relationship between the BBC and regional publishers, whereby local newspapers would be appropriately credited, and rewarded, for creating content for the BBC and sharing it with them.
“Despite the best of intentions, a pilot scheme in Leeds – which saw local press working alongside the BBC to create content – has proved a challenge to say the least and is far from the Great White Hope it set out to be.
“So I suggest now is the time for Auntie to put on some different spectacles and start looking at local press differently: as a genuine partner to take the BBC to a wider audience.”
The full speech can be found here: