Sometimes social media can give you a bit of a jolt. And so it was this morning when Facebook memories offered this picture in my stream.
A standard class lineup shot it maybe, but behind the smiles to camera is a moment in time which is also a poignant reminder in these days of ‘post truth’ media, Brexit and Trumpism of the dangers that still face journalists around the world.
The picture was taken to mark the end of a course for entrepreneurial journalists in Istanbul as part of the Media and Digital Enterprise* team led by Dr Francois Nel from UCLan.
Earlier that week some of us had gone down to the street below our rented apartment to see the crowds of thousands take part in a peace march (on a route which included going past the Russian Embassy) to protest about Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.
One of the reasons the course took place in the Turkish city was due to the fact that journalists in that country faced so many difficulties and, even then, unhappily earned recognition for having the most jailed journalists in the developed world. None of us could have imagined how much worse that situation was actually going to get……..
Against this backdrop it was heartening to discover this morning that some of those journalists we were lucky to meet there (along with others from across the city) are determinedly carrying on their important work and getting the news out to a wider audience in the world by publishing this regular Twitter stream in English.
Called JournosInTurkey (follow @JournosInTurkey) it offers English tweets by @Ben_Gazeteciyim, a group of journalists from Turkey for solidarity. They only started a month ago.
Well worth a follow if you are interested in news reporting from that part of the world by journalists on the ground.
* Thanks as ever due to the International Press Institute and Google for their support of the work we were able to carry out there.
Deliberately piggy-backing on the hyperlocal consultation, the BBC also used yesterday’s event to update people on its post-Charter Review progress on how the corporation might better interact with local news providers of all shapes and flavours.
The discussion picked up in many of the subjects raised at the first hyperlocal forum held in Birmingham last year and Matthew Barraclough was able to update the attendees on the draft consultation plans currently under construction.
Much has been written about the plans – eg. this and this - but generally from the viewpoint of the mainstream news groups and so this event provided an opportunity for the independent sector to feed in their comments and questions.
Sadly the one hour allocated to the update probably wasn’t sufficient as just about everyone in the room wanted more detail but Matthew said he is open to hearing from people via his Twitter @M_R_Barra or by email. The plans have to be firmed up by the end of this year and the hope is to start work early in 2017 – although that intention maybe set back until Ofcom are fully in place in the spring.
Notes taken during the Q and A are below and I’ll update this blog with more as detail and discussion update.
150 reporters scheme
— Community Journalism (@C4CJ) July 26, 2016
Will be focussed on top tier of local authorities ie. metropolitan and maybe county councils.
Unitary bodies and not down to district/parish level.
Intention is to demonstrate more value no intention to cover courts now – reason; BBC doesn’t carry much low level court reporting at present and so wouldn’t intend to expand into that area
primarily text based but with some provision for mobile phone footage
resulting coverage would be basic and publishable but more of a foundation story than a finished product (think PA wire)
being made freely available to ‘qualifying’ local news organisations
bbc will fund it partner news orgs will employ the reporters NOT the BBC
hard deadline of news years eve for plan in place. would then depend on whether consultation was required as OFCOM coming on board
contracts to employ a named individual only, via a company. NOT a contract for an organisation who then assigns individiual reporters eg. rota
might not be entirely just the councils, could be other elements of council activity or event quagos and leps
licensing issues unclear
— Gareth Morlais (@digitalst) July 26, 2016
Giving away content for re-use
gobe to BBC research people to
searchable and downloadable
identified as coming from the bbc
hoping to be tagged to where/when for useage
control access on where and when from area
— Fiona Davidson (@FionaDavidson2) July 26, 2016
Idea to work with partners in industry or maybe academics
Create central data hub
where and how big it is still tbd
Waiting for some of the consultation over BBC new data consultation
Should the hyperlocal sector have a representative body? If so, what would it do?
That’s the crux of the issue which saw representatives from independent news publish, academics, the BBC and others gather today at a Centre for Community Journalism event held at Cardiff University.
The consultation follows on from various discussions, online debates and a survey carried out by the Centre to tease out the issues.
On the face of it, there would seem to be strong support for the idea of such an organisation – afterall, 94.6% of those who were surveyed thought it would be a good idea. However, there were only 56 respondents in the survey so, in a vast ‘sector’ which ranges from people who publish parish newsletters to those who make a living and employ staff in professional publishing, there are undoubtedly many voices as yet unheard.
On a personal level I remain open-minded about the proposal. Only last week, I was asked by someone starting out with a publishing venture if there was such a group, and it’s a question I often heard when working at Talk About Local. It would appear on that anecdotal evidence alone there’s a desire, at some level, for some sort of collective action.
On the other hand, many have come at this question before and nothing has stuck despite good intentions and technological savvy – remember the Hyperlocal Alliance anyone? In a world of self-organising forces, it seems somewhat counter-intuitive and therefore the ultimate purpose of any such group would have to be carefully framed in order to be both inclusive while also being credible enough to bring weight to bear in a very disparate environment across the entire UK. Is that a feasible ambition? Love to hear your thoughts on that below……………..
Those convening today’s event were at pains to ensure that any move isn’t an attempt to force its way out from under the auspices of the Community Journalism Centre, but, they urge, the exact structure, governance and make-up should be drawn from, and run by, practitioners.
I’ve pasted my random notes from the session in full below covering the main headings discussed.
The next stage for this consultation is for the Centre for Community Journalism to produce a two page brief for circulation and comment. That could well result in a funding bid being submitted to a body eg. Lottery in order to scope out the exact structure and remit for the organisation going forward.
I will update this blog with any further information as it emerges and would recommend keeping tabs on the @c4cj Twitterstream too.
56 hyperlocals responded
94.6% wanted body of representation
Few of the findings (full slide deck below)
11% interested in collective ad selling
press agency 9.8%
expert advice call centre 7.5%
Primary purpose for organisation
Is ‘hyperlocal’ the correct term? Maybe independent community news network would be better?
Centre for Community Journalism in a position to help as has funding until 2018 including office premises and staff.
Big Lottery funding?
Could include a network of academics who regularly submit to gov calls and white papers but don’t forsee a paid lobbyist in Westminster
Instead, a lower level of lobbying. national assemblies, bbc etc.
“unless it comes from the industry, it’s on shaky ground to start with” – wise words from Simon Perry (@OntheWight)
University has some experience of not-for-profits as well
Should there be two tiers/columns? – everyone with an interest and then commercially motivated organisations
A supporter tier? Supporter or practitioner? practitioner members would get extras eg. access to forum where topics can be discussed
Looking at retrieving funding to undertake scoping work into suitable constitutions
2 page scoping document to be produced for people to react to
Needs to be clear it’s uk wide
Funding to come from other sources
Training for professionalisation
News and information includes features/soft
Advertising – scoping work needed to establish metrics, whether human or technical solutions, quality issues.
Mentoring scheme/buddy system?
smaller/regional events and big national conferences
creating more jobs for journalists and better journalism
statement of intent for sector – what is the sector?
What could it achieve?
sense of belonging/community
changes in law and processes eg. commissioning of statutory notices
bring in more money to the sector
showcase for innovation and experimental business models
seed funding which could help both business and society
How would it operate?
steering group of practitioners?
time-limited terms eg. 2 years?
directors travel expenses funded?
similar to Community Media Association?
will go to look at other orgs, including those outside of media, for the scoping