First Facebook funded Community Reporter speaks at global conference

Behind Local News
Jun 14 · 2 min read

A Newsquest journalist, who was the first Facebook-funded Community Reporter appointed in the UK, has spoken about his role at an international media conference — and revealed how the scheme has helped him realise his dream.

Steven Collins, a reporter for the Worcester News and its sister titles in Worcestershire, discussed his job as part of a Facebook Journalism Project presentation on Thursday June 13 at the Global Editors Network (GEN) Summit 2019 in Athens.

Steven, 39, a former care worker, told the audience about how the Facebook partnership with the local news industry — which seeks to increase diversity in newsrooms — has allowed him to realise his dream of becoming a journalist — something he feared would never happen due to his Asperger syndrome and age.

He also explained how he focuses on covering news from the rural areas in Worcestershire and engaging with those communities via Facebook.

Steven — who began his role in March — was the first of 83 community news journalists being funded for two-year fixed-term contracts by a £4.5million charitable donation from Facebook to the NCTJ.

He said: “It was a real honour to attend and speak at the summit and explain how my role has made such a positive difference to the rural communities of Worcestershire.

“I answered questions from journalists from all over the world who were interested in my role and how Facebook is supporting local news.”

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Behind Local News UK

The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK