News boss hits out at publishers of failed paper

time:2023-06-04 14:57:55 source:Al Jazeera

The boss of a new media company has hit out at his former employers.

Huw Marshall founded The National Wales, which was initially a newspaper and a website, and website Corgi Cymru, with the London and US-based firm Newsquest, but both folded last year.

The former lasted 18 months while the latter closed after six months.

Newsquest, whose titles include the South Wales Argus, said the ventures failed in a "challenging economic climate".

Mr Marshall's new English language service, a cooperative he hopes to launch next year, will include a digital radio service.

The former head of digital at S4C, who is looking for investors for the business, said: "We're talking about creating a business where the people own the company.

"We're not in the hands of a big business with headquarters in North America or London.

"Looking back, it was a mistake to collaborate with a company where, ultimately, money is the bottom line."

He said he was disappointed by Newsquest's involvement in The National and Corgi Cymru.

"I would have expected a major news company to have been able to create better business plans," he said.

When Corgi Cymru was established, Books Council Wales (BCW) announced Newsquest would get a grant of £100,000 a year over four years.

BCW said the grant was awarded through "an independent panel as part of an open, competitive tender process" and it could not have foreseen the closure.

Mr Marshall hopes Talking Wales will create 13 jobs, including seven for journalists.

"We are trying to create a business plan and the business model allows us to ensure that the money is going to be there, in place, for employing people," he said.

Newsquest's Wales regional editor, Gavin Thompson, told Cymru Fyw that the organisation had hoped to "strengthen the Welsh national media landscape" but admitted sometimes "publishing initiatives do not succeed".

He said the BBC's online services had a "disproportionate impact" on the commercial market, making it "harder for an independent publisher to build a subscription model".

Mr Thomson said closing the titles meant two editorial jobs were lost.

The Welsh government said it was "satisfied the procurement process undertaken by the Books Council of Wales was robust, open and fair, and that the reasons for the cessation of service were due to external factors and changing circumstances outside the control of both the Books Council and Newsquest".

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