The National sister site Corgi Cymru to come to an end just five months after launch
The ‘Corgi Cymru’ Welsh language digital news service will shut down at the end of October, just five months after launch.
Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru and Newsquest have agreed to end the funding and provision of the Welsh news service.
It follows the shutting down of Corgi Cymru’s sister site The National Wales in August, after Newsquest said the site had become “unsustainable”.
Corgi Cymru was launched in April this year, and was expected to receive a grant of £100,000 a year over a period of four years, administered by the Books Council of Wales.
The £100,000 received by the news site was half of the grant previously given to the news site Golwg360, leading to staff cuts at the latter Lampeter-based news service.
The Books Council said that they and Newsquest had reached a joint agreement to propose closing Corgi Cymru’s digital channels at the end of this month, and allow the service to be discontinued over the following month.
One full-time and one part-time job are now at risk, and a consultation will take place with affected staff at Newsquest, starting today.
Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council, said: “After careful consideration and discussion, the Books Council and Newsquest have agreed that it is in the best interest of both parties to discontinue our funding agreement and close the Corgi Cymru digital news service at the end of October.
“We have been in regular contact with Newsquest over the last few weeks and we are sorry to see Corgi Cymru close, but we do understand that circumstances have changed since the grant was awarded, due to the very challenging current environment. Our thoughts are with the staff who are affected by this decision.”
Gavin Thompson, Regional Editor at Newsquest, said that they were grateful to the Books Council for their support “which enabled the launch of Corgi Cymru earlier this year”.
“Unfortunately, it became clear that even with Books Council support and given the challenging economic environment, building a new Welsh-language proposition at this time would not be economically sustainable.
“We have been engaged in constructive discussions over the future of the service in recent weeks, following the closure of The National Wales. We will begin a consultation process with affected staff, starting today.”
The Welsh Books Council will announce the process for re-tendering for the remaining funding of the Welsh Digital News Service grant from 2023 onwards over the next few weeks.
The National Wales website was originally set up after a Patreon crowdfunder by digital marketer Huw Marshall under the title of ‘New Media Wales’. He subsequently partnered with Newsquest to launch the site, although Gavin Thompson confirmed that Newsquest had received no money from New Media Wales.
Newsquest later launched the sister Welsh site, Corgi Cymru, with £100k of funding from the Welsh Books Council. Newsquest, a UK-wide company which is a subsidiary of the US-based Gannett Media, also runs the Western Telegraph in Pembrokeshire, and The Leader in Wrexham to the South Wales Argus in Newport.
Delyth Jewell MS, the Chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Communications and Welsh Language Committee, wrote to Newsquest’s Chief Executive and Managing Director in August to ask for a fuller explanation as to why The National Wales was being shut down.
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