Another media company is launching a national news service in the next few days, after what they said was “surprise and disappointment” at the partnership between crowdfunder New Media Wales and Newsquest.
It was announced at the beginning of the month that Newsquest, a London-based company, would be partnering with New Media Wales to launch a new newspaper on St. David’s Day called The National Wales.
But the company behind the Pembrokeshire Herald have said that they too will this week be launching a news service Herald.Wales which will cover all of Wales.
They claim that they were originally supposed to set up shop with fundraiser New Media Wales – before the latter partnered with Newsquest.
“We were a founding patron of New Media Wales with whom we were looking forward to working with to provide independent news online,” Political Editor Jon Coles said.
“When New Media Wales partnered with Newsquest, I was surprised and disappointed. Our plans had to change and so we brought our launch date forward.”
He added that they had “provisionally chalked in St David’s Day to launch; however, the late entrance of the US-owned and London-based Newsquest to the market with ‘The National’ came as a surprise.
“We had already set up and were trialling our website and tweaking it in the autumn.”
New Media Wales has raised over £10,000, and is continuing to raise money, with a Patreon promising to “create an independent national news service for Wales”.
It was revealed earlier this month that they were partnering with Newsquest Media Group Ltd, a London-based subsidiary that already owns multiple Welsh titles including the South Wales Argus, to deliver the website.
Writing on Twitter, the National Editor Gaving Thompson however said that the money raised would not be going to Newsquest.
“For clarity, the money people have donated to New Media Wales’ campaign, has gone to New Media Wales and not Newsquest,” he wrote.
“New Media Wales’ journey has led them to Newsquest, we’ve listened, looked at their research & ideas, worked with them and now we’re launching this new title.”
Herald.Wales political editor Jon Coles said that the news service’s output would be supportive of Welsh independence.
“We will report every political view,” he said. “Herald.Wales starts from the position that Wales should have the choice over whether to be an independent country.
“That doesn’t mean we’re an uncritical voice in support of independence. We’re realistic about the challenges it presents us as a nation. We will report each side of the debate so our readers can form their own opinions on Wales’ future. However, our sentiment will favour an independent Wales.”
South & West Wales Editor Tom Sinclair added: “We’ve built a network of contributors across Wales to provide news for every area.
“We will report on local news, news from Wales’ regions, and Welsh national news in Welsh and English. Video content will be important to us.
“Our introductory video has already gained plenty of views and our new Facebook page is getting more followers daily.
“We are confident there is space in the market for a genuinely independent online news source for Wales, to compliment what is being offered by the bigger players such as the WalesOnline and BBC Wales websites.”
Speaking of the launch of the National Wales on Times Radio, Editor Gavin Thompson said it would be a “new national news service for all of Wales”.
“We feel that Wales really deserves a quality national news service that focuses on the whole of the country so we’re going to be kicking off from the 1st of March,” he said.
“We’ll be launching it with a special print edition but the majority of the focus will be as a digital service that will be producing a special print edition as an when we think there’s something important enough to do that for.
“So we’re very excited about it. It’s a big initiative for us. And we’re really looking to utilise the strength of the existing network of reporters that Newsquest our publisher has right across Wales.
“We’re not talking the same position as the National in Scotland. I think there are differences between us, and what we feel is that, actually, we’re not a pro-independence title, we’re a pro-Wales title.
“But we do want to start a national conversation about issues like devolution and independence. Because we have some really interesting elections coming up this year, hopefully in May, to the Senedd, 16 year old being allowed to vote for the first time and the constitution has never been a bigger issue in recent memory in Wales, with such a focus in Coronavirus on devolution and also a rise in some quarters, still a minority, in independence.
“So we think it’s about time there was a conversation about all of that, and also that we really want to focus on the coverage of politics and devolution and provide the information and insight to ensure a better-informed public. What they need to make those decisions when they’re voting in May or in the future.”