Funding for a Welsh-language Current Affairs Magazine

27 Nov 2009

The Welsh Books Council announced today (Friday, 27 November 2009) that the funding for a Welsh-language current affairs magazine has been awarded to Barn for a period of two years.

Following the invitation for applications for the magazine franchise last year, the Council’s Publishing Grants Panel decided at that time to extend the funding for Barn for a period of twelve months while at the same time awarding £5,000 to Y Lolfa to prepare a sample issue of their magazine, Sylw. It was noted at the time that the final decision would be announced within twelve months.

Barn and Sylw were invited to present revised applications and according to the Council’s Chair, Professor M. Wynn Thomas, both companies were to be congratulated on their submissions.

As part of the assessment process, Aberaeron-based market research company Wavehill was commissioned to undertake a readers’ survey, through telephone questionnaires and focus groups.

‘The readers were most complimentary of both magazines,’ added Professor Thomas, ‘and the public realised that we had two strong publications with their own individual styles.  Wavehill’s report showed clearly that readers were interested in a quality magazine that analysed and discussed topical issues through the medium of Welsh.  The readers’ positive response to both magazines also reflected the vibrancy of the magazine scene here in Wales.’

The Chair of the Books Council’s Grants Panel, Mr Gareth Davies Jones said: ‘The members of the Panel were well aware of both companies’ commitment and enthusiasm to produce a current affairs magazine that was both lively and appealing to readers.  When it came to the final decision the journalistic experience of Barn’s editorial team, the quality of its content and the analytical nature of the writing were all deciding factors.  The Panel also commended the company’s commitment to reach new readers which had resulted in a 20% increase in circulation.

‘As holders of the magazine franchise for the next two years, Barn now have the opportunity to build on their core readership and to look again at the design of the magazine.’

The Books Council also renewed the franchise for the weekly newspaper Y Cymro and Y Selar magazine for the next two years.

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