Two of Scotland’s journalism schools could be at the Scottish vanguard of a UK Government initiative to create local TV stations across the country, after striking a deal with STV to take part in bids for new broadcasters in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Edinburgh Napier University, which both offer degree programmes in broadcast journalism, would work together with the Glasgow-based broadcaster to produce ‘GTV’ and ‘ETV’ channels on the Freeview platform, offering current affairs programming and ‘magazine-style shows’ during peak-time for a local audience.
Both university’s principals – Pamela Gillies at GCU and Joan Stringer at Edinburgh Napier – would have seats on the boards of the new companies as part of the deal.
Students on broadcast journalism programmes at the schools are likely to benefit from work experience opportunities at the new broadcasters as well as a new graduate recruitment programme to channel talent into the new companies.
In a statement, Gillies said: “I am delighted that we are forming a partnership with STV as it submits an application to deliver GTV. We are ideally positioned to engage in this partnership, offering strengths such as our undergraduate and postgraduate Multimedia Journalism degrees, which have already produced graduates who have secured employment with STV.
“We have always placed great emphasis on employability and the launch of GTV would give our talented and committed graduates even more of a head start.”
UK media regulator Ofcom are today poised to reveal which companies have bid for the 21 local TV licenses that are being created across the country as part of a coalition policy initiative to diversify local media provision.
Licenses in regional cities such as Sheffield, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester as well as London, are all up for grabs in what is seen as an effort by Media and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to replicate the diverse TV landscape of North America, where most cities have their own local broadcaster.
However, commentators have claimed that new broadcasters outside the capital will be financially unsustainable with audiences too small to attract sufficient advertising revenue.
STV already has a substantial local media offering, with separate news broadcasts produced in Edinburgh and Glasgow and a growing network of hyperlocal news website under the STVLocal banner.
However, a spokesperson for STV said that while the organisation had significant experience in local media to draw upon, the new services would stand alone.