DURING the first decade of this millennium, I was one of the directors of Dyddiol Cyf, the company set up with more than 300 shareholders and more than a thousand members to establish a daily newspaper in Welsh, Y Byd.

At that time, just after the first elections to the newly formed National Assembly for Wales, one of our primary aims was to produce an independent news agenda, a Welsh daily narrative. That “all Wales” level was – and continues to be – dominated by the BBC through its various platforms, with some contribution from ITV Cymru Wales. But, in effect, most other media outlets that serve the people of Wales continue to overlook this level of politics and society, favouring local or UK stories and perspectives, except of course on sport.

With Y Byd, our language of communication was to be Welsh. Spoken and read by a minority of the population, our aim was to create new content and a new readership in the language. We drew on the successful subscriber model of the Basque Egunkaria set up in the 1990s, which later became Berria, publishing both in print and online, with a clear

non-partisan, inclusive and independent editorial approach. Reaching and engaging readers in Welsh, yes, but also contributing towards creating a distinctive news agenda in Wales and connecting with the English language media environment here too.

We believed that it was the narrative change that Wales needed at the time. It was adopted as manifesto commitments by all political parties in Wales in the 2007 election. However, the One Wales government scaled down the ambition considerably to a third of the funding required and our initiative could not be realised. In the end, Golwg360 was set up as a daily online news service.

A decade later, the conclusion continues to be that Wales is still media-deficient. Our population barely recognises our elected political leaders, 20 years after devolution. We very much lag behind other non-sovereign, counterpart nations in Europe.

Events of the past few weeks and days could not highlight this point any clearer. Scotland, in having its own press, front pages and editorial columns, can present a distinctive perspective to the wider debate.

We are living through extraordinary political events: yet we have such a limited Welsh “take” on them. Journalists can look to El Pais or Le Monde or Der Spiegel for their view of the debacle in the Commons, but nobody is asking what the papers say in Wales. Not even us.

Our social media consumption of news continues to increase as we follow and share links to comments, memes and substantial threads on Twitter. We create and distribute content ourselves. We read and connect to new online journalism and platforms, such as Nation.Cymru as well as to public-service-broadcaster-produced content. But we also share content and articles produced by newspapers and journalists.

The traditional economic model of newspapers may well be broken, but we want the content and continue to consume it and engage with it. Significantly, it still weaves its way into the various narratives of our public domain and through those of our public service broadcasters. According to Ofcom’s Media Nations 2019 report, television news continues to be the single most important news source for people in Wales.

Efforts to increase the pluralism of our media landscape in Wales – and to create a distinctive news agenda – must be supported by additional visibility, so that these narratives can reach the people who live here, weaving their way into the wider public domain. The truth is, “what the papers say” continues to be an important part of our daily news agenda.

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones is director of the Mercator Institute for Media, Languages and Culture, Aberystwyth University