Witney TV making its mark with local scoops

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The Independent Online

One local news broadcaster that has made a splash just four months after its launch is Witney TV as it beat the national press to an exclusive on The Stig.

The site also happens to focus on the West Oxfordshire constituency of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the founders boast a good working relationship with his team.

The launch of the website, which shows a weekly news bulletin on local news, can also be traced back to the Prime Minister. One of the founders, Barry Clack, a freelance stills photographer, was recording the election count in Witney for the local district council.

"I realised that most of the local people weren't being allowed near what was a historic night for the area," he said. "That's when the seeds were sown."

Witney TV had 10,000 views in the first week, and quickly rose to 80,000. Its breakthrough came from an unexpected source. Earlier this month, after a charity auction in nearby Chipping Norton Lido, Jeremy Clarkson gave an exclusive interview to the site about Ben Collins, who had been unmasked as The Stig, Top Gear's stunt driver. Mr Clarkson said: "You may remember a film called Wall Street in which Gordon Gekko said 'Greed is good, greed works'. Well it doesn't... He's history as far as we're concerned." That week, the site had 3.5 million views.

Witney TV has four volunteers, who have so far covered the £11,000 outlay themselves. The site does carry some advertising, "and there is money to be made once we are established", said Mr Clack. He added: "We lost our local ITV station so we no longer have any local news. The council's said it is nice to have an outlet like this."