A BID by the publishers of The Journal to take over the regional TV news has been strengthened by the appointment of two leading figures in the television industry.
Nigel Dacre, former editor of the ITV News, and Tom Gutteridge, founder of one of the first independent TV production companies, Mentorn, have joined forces with The Journal’s parent company, Trinity Mirror, the Press Association and Ten Alps.
They hope to produce regional news broadcasts to replace ITV’s news service in the North East.
It was announced in January the consortium had made it through to the second phase of the bid.
Alex Connock, CEO of production company Ten Alps, said: “We are really privileged to be working with both of these executives. Nigel has a superb understanding of both live news and multi-platform and we have worked together successfully a great deal in the past.
“Meanwhile we have wanted to work with Tom on creating popular factual TV programme formats for at least a decade, and this is the perfect opportunity.
“As well as living in Northumberland, Tom also has the North East in his DNA, which is an enormous plus.”
Since ITV’s decision to withdraw from providing regional news, the Government is planning to run three pilot schemes in Wales, Scotland and Tyne Tees/Borders. A group of companies will be funded by the Government to provide news across a number of different platforms, including the television slot currently occupied by ITV regional news.
Each bid will be discussed by an independent panel of media experts when they visit Newcastle on Friday. Nigel Dacre said: “I have enormous respect for the three companies in the consortium, and I am looking forward to working with them during the tender process.
“It’s a fascinating opportunity to play a role in the development of a completely new approach to regional news – one which brings together local journalism, TV production, and the latest digital developments in an exciting and ground-breaking way.”
Tom Gutteridge, who writes a column for The Journal on a Monday, said: “I’ve been involved in many groundbreaking new concepts in television in my career, but this has to be one of the most daunting. Redesigning local news coverage is like reinventing the wheel.
“I grew up with the regional news in the North East, and one of my first jobs as a BBC News trainee was in the television newsroom in Newcastle.
“But the opportunity to be part of a team creating a whole new multi-platform offering for the North East and Cumbria is incredibly exciting. We hope our plans, if successful, will form the blueprint for local news provision throughout the UK.”
The Trinity Mirror consortium also includes Teesside University, Newcastle College and the CN Group, which owns a number of local papers in Cumbria and Northumberland.
Also in the running is a group led by ITN, which includes staff who currently work for Tyne Tees, Johnston Press, Metro Radio and Sunderland University.
The third bidder is Ulster Television.