There has been a marked decline in the quality of local news in Cardiff over the past few years, a natural result of the economic downturn which noticeably saw job losses at the Media Wales head office in the city.
Unfortunately, this means that there is no single comprehensive source that Cardiffians can rely on for their local news. Instead, businesses and individuals must keep an eye on a variety of sources if they want to gain a true picture of what is happening in the Welsh capital.
Here is a list of the predominant news sources for Cardiff:
The main port of call for news in Cardiff, provided by Media Wales which publishes the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday. The site does not publish as many news stories daily as it did a few years ago. Nevertheless, it does contain the main stories for the region and is good for business stories and opinion pieces from various regional players.
For some reason, the Cardiff page of the wider WalesOnline site does not seem to pick up all of the stories relevant to the city (probably due to insufficient tagging), so it is a good idea to keep an eye on the Wales or Business sections, or to do a site search for ‘Cardiff’.
Another principal source, which often reports breaking stories before WalesOnline. It also provides links to relevant stories reported by newspapers covering the city’s neighbours such as Newport and Barry. There is also a handy section for real-time traffic information. Unsurprisingly, only the ‘biggest’ stories tend to be reported so it is not a good source for hyperlocal news.
It wouldn’t be unfair to expect ITV to report the same stories as the BBC, and this is the case to a certain extent, but it does often feature major stories that don’t tend to be reported by the BBC, but the stories published here are limited to a handful per day.
As the only major cities in Wales and the West, Cardiff and Bristol are seen as twins and rivals at the same time, so it is interesting to keep an eye on stories about Cardiff reported in Bristol’s newspaper. It is usually dominated by business stories affecting both cities or articles complaining about how much more investment Cardiff receives, however.
The Guardian provides a stream of both national stories that affect Cardiff and unique articles of local importance, although it tends to contain only a handful of stories for each month.
In 2010, The Guardian experimented with hyperlocal news sites for three major UK cities: Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff. It became a key source of frequent news for community events and cultural activities that otherwise went unreported. All three sites unfortunately closed the following year. Its legacy is continued by We Are Cardiff, which tends to focus on community news only but remains unparalleled in the types of stories it reports.
Although new airlines and routes will be reported by CardiffOnline or BBC News, Cardiff Airport’s website will report them first. The airport is undergoing major developments at the moment following its purchase by the Welsh Government, and has seen extensive refurbishments, the return of Ryanair, a new route to Düsseldorf and Geneva, and the establishment of a new express bus service, so we are expecting to see more exciting news from the site in the months to come.
The Cardiff University student newspaper, understandably, reports stories primarily related to its students but that have an effect on the city as a whole, so it can be a useful source given that students make up 20% of Cardiff’s population. However, the website seems to contain a minute extract of stories that are published in the printed version, which is available on campus.
Buzz Magazine is an outstanding source for cultural events in Cardiff, featuring reviews of shows in the capital and interviews with performers. The printed version is free and available at outlets across South Wales or can be read online. One of the most useful features is a weekly digest of 10 things to do in Cardiff and the wider region.
The Tab is another source of student news but again the stories relate to the wider city and usually differ from those reported by Gair Rhydd, but the two sources share a common trait in that they are not updated very frequently.
The city has a variety of hyperlocal sites and blogs for its different districts and communities, but Roath Cardiff deserves a special mention as it won the Wales Blog Awards for Best Community Blog 2014. Started in 2011 by four volunteers, the site tends to have a new post every few days.
Rather than any one news site, Twitter is probably the top resource for Cardiff news, simply because it brings together so many different sources and you can tailor your feed to follow only the accounts that you want to. One of the most comprehensive ways to find out what’s going on in the city is by searching for the hashtag #Cardiff, although you will need to filter through a lot of promotional, personal and spam tweets.
For a more refined overview of happenings in the capital, there are a number of high-quality accounts that tweet constantly, from the biggest stories to offers from local businesses and little-reported but nevertheless notable community news. The most highly recommended accounts are It’s On Cardiff (mainly social tweets), Awesome Cardiff (with lots of photos of events daily), Your Cardiff (shares relevant articles from WalesOnline) and We Are Cardiff (mentioned earlier)
The future of news in Cardiff
After a few years of delays, a television channel dedicated to life in the capital is set to launch in September 2014. Made in Cardiff will be available on Freeview and will not only cover the city proper, but the wider Cardiff Capital Region, stretching westwards to Swansea, northwards to Merthyr Tydfil and eastwards to Monmouth.
Made in Cardiff bills itself as showcasing “the most exciting talent our region has to offer, telling the stories of local folk, and enjoying the humour and the banter that courses through the veins of Cardiff people”, promising 24 hour broadcasting with at least an hour of live Cardiff news each night.
Do you know of any other good-quality news sources for Cardiff? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.