Four additional publishers have joined the Facebook-funded Community News Project, bringing the total number participating in the scheme to nine.
The Barnsley Chronicle, Baylis Media, KM Group and Newbury News are now participating in the project, which will recruit about 80 community journalists to extend news coverage in under reported areas.
They join Archant, JPIMedia, Midland News Association, Newsquest and Reach, who confirmed their involvement in the pilot when it was announced last November.
The project was formally launched at the Behind Local News Conference in Leicester on 31 January. It is being funded by a £4.5m charitable donation from Facebook to the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Speaking at the conference, Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ said: “We are thrilled to be working with a great mix of publishing partners to recruit, train and qualify a new breed of community reporters.
“As so many publishers are interested in the project and want to play a part, the publisher partners and the NCTJ decided to open the pilot to additional independent publishers.
“We all believe that working together will be good for the industry and for the success of this exciting project.”
David Higgerson, chief audience officer at Reach, who was involved with the NCTJ in the selection said: “The additional publishers we’ve signed up for the project submitted very strong proposals and fully understand the objectives and criteria we set.
“This project is about innovating and supporting communities as well as getting a mix of diverse voices into our newsrooms.
“I’m pleased we have such a stellar line-up of publishers to make these ambitions a reality.”