The government's Independently Funded News Consortia plans were recently described by one media commentator as "Ofcom-constructed top-down proposals".

But a closer look at the parties involved in one of the bids for the Welsh news pilot shows a commitment to news from the bottom-up. Tinopolis, the independent production company, competing for the Welsh tender has been working with Politics Cymru, an award-winning blog authored by a pair of recent journalism graduates.

The site, which was set up as part of a postgraduate broadcast journalism course assignment, has provided a showcase for the three newly-qualified journalists that set it up. One of the three co-founders, Cemlyn Davies, has since landed a job at the BBC; while remaining founders Steffan Powell and Glyn Tansley, who are still running the blog, have found themselves actively involved in the plans to change the structure of local news programming.

The site was named as one of Total Politics magazine's top political blogs in 2009 - no mean feat for the three students or "Three Dewis" as they called themselves. The site was born out of initial frustrations with the assignment to report back from a specific patch in Cardiff, which for the Dewis included the Welsh Assembly.

Gaining access to the parliament, its press briefings and reports, was difficult as a student journalist, says Tansley. The blog was set up in November 2008 as a way of dealing with this initial lack of access - the trio used podcasts to provide a round-up of recent Welsh political news stories and gave them an outlet for their stories and a place to direct those accreditation staff.

The Welsh Assembly has been good at keeping up with what's developing online in terms of political coverage, says Tansley, and once the blog was established "the Assembly press office came round to the idea that we were here to stay".

The site's specialism and approach to political reporting has no doubt helped boost its readership and success, Tansley tells

There's a gap in dedicated Welsh political coverage, suggests Tansley, who recalls his surprise when first attending Assembly press briefings at the lack journalists in attendance from organisations other than the BBC.

"Everyone had developed a static, standard way of reporting the Assembly and Welsh politics. Our site offered a more refreshing approach. We made use of video and audio and the blogging format: you are very free in a blog to write however little or much your story demands. If it's worthy of a long post or if it's worthy of two to three lines then either is acceptable and it's about getting that mixture right," he explains.

"We have tended to focus on the process and what's going on behind the scenes rather than policies. There's a bubble in Welsh politics and your either inside it or outside. We wanted to let people know what was going on on the inside. Part of this appeals to people who write and read online and are used to this style of blogging."

"Here's the new trinity scrutinising Welsh politics. Three fresh voices for the price of one - it's worth keeping an eye on their website", says a testimonial from Tomos Livingstone, political editor at the Western Mail, on the site.

The site's busiest day last year came on 7 June - the date of the European election results: "We tweeted (and retweeted) the result live and then blogged the highlights (gaining a thousand followers in the process)."

A recent post looking forward to the Welsh election and October's post on candidates for the Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr constituency have also proved popular, says Tansley, who admits that additional commitments have turned the site into a side project for the moment.

But the remaining co-founders have been encouraged to keep it going and Tansley says any students with the chance to launch their own specialist or hyperlocal sites should grab the opportunity. Politics Cymru has already surpassed its student beginnings and helped fulfill Tansley ambition of becoming a political correspondent. If Tinopolis' bid is successful its popularity and style of reporting can only go further.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).