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Local news and the BBC’s local democracy reporting – an update

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For the first trip out of the office this year, I went along to the latest of the BBC’s ‘hyperlocal forum’ events today. It was the latest in the series of get togethers looking at how what’s being called a Local Democracy Reporting scheme, funded by the BBC licence fee, will operate across mainland UK.

A total of 150 reporters will be released into the world to report on decision making at top-tier councils in selected areas. Their reporting will be shared out (for free) to all participating news organisations in a move that’s intended to plug the democratic deficit that’s been left by local newspaper closures and constrictions.

The plans have evolved quite considerably since the event I attended last year – there’s even been ‘editorial trials’ in some areas – and the recruitment of the reporters is imminent (first half of this year).

If I go back to the earlier mentions of this scheme, there was some optimism that this would finally unleash a revenue source for those hard-working independents who have been plugging away reporting from their local authorities, often for no financial reward. But the way the scheme has been shaped is unlikely to deliver on that.

In order to effectively manage the contracts that will be needed to run the scheme, the BBC has divided the country into patches which reflect their own local news operations. Within those, they have then ‘bundled’ the local councils which need covering and assigned a suggested number of reporters to each of the contracts to be awarded.

As an example, in my home area, the North East, there will be money for 8 reporters (£34k per contract) across a huge geography of Tyneside, Wearside, Durham and Teesside.

Digging into the ‘bundle’ that covers my area (defined by the Beeb as Teesside) there will be just 2 reporters to cover the (vastly different and distant from each other) local authorities in Durham, Darlington and North Yorkshire.

I can’t think of a single independent news service which strives to cover such a large patch, so the only potential bidder would seem to be the established local Newsquest-owned paper. New entrants are considered ineligible – only news providers already up and running will be considered.

Given that similar situations will apply to many (possibly all) places as most independent publishers generally cover a small geography in a deep way), it’s hard to see where the opportunity to bid for these contracts will occur.

There was some disappointment about that situation expressed in the room today, alongside an understanding for the BBC’s position in attempting to find a way forward in managing this scheme in a reasonable, cost-effective way.

One possibility is that, in areas where there is a hyperlocal already operating, there could be some sort of joint bid with the local newspaper to cover these large patches.

The consultation is still running with the BBC continuing to talk with people about different ways of running the scheme and it will soon be put out to the industry with invitations to bid for the contracts.

Written by sarahhartley

January 9th, 2017 at 5:56 pm

The BBC and more on those 150 public service reporters

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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.

BBC
150 reporters scheme

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

Newsbank


Giving away content for re-use
gobe to BBC research people to
managed access
online only
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

Data Hub


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

Written by sarahhartley

July 27th, 2016 at 7:20 am

Dear BBC…..

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As the minutes tick by before the deadline (why do journalists always leave things to the last minute?) I’ve submitted a few thoughts to the BBC consultation about partnerships with hyperlocal operators. This is what I’ve said – if you’re reading it today (30 Sept) there’s still just about time to get a response in.

Please find below my thoughts on the BBC hyperlocal consultation but firstly can I express my appreciation that this consultation is taking place at all. For too long the hyperlocal and independent media sector has been sidelined and been operating on a very uneven playing field where the so the consultation is a welcome intervention. I hope it proves fruitful.

I’ve addressed some the points which resonated most with me as a journalist and hyperlocal publisher as follows.

1. External linking.
Being credited for work produced and having the exposure to BBC audiences would be a very welcome (long overdue) development. It raises an interesting point in my locality which may also arise for other parts of the country. In terms of radio and online, my local site The RichmondNoticeboard, is served by BBC Tees and BBC York. For television it’s BBC Look North. Where would the links appear – and how would cross linking be achieved?

2. Being able to utilise BBC video or audio content.
Having licensed BBC clips could be a useful enhancement although is likely to be fairly rare in my area in reality as BBC don’t actually cover the area very often. Where material is produced I would prefer the actual footage – rushes would be fine – ahead of any ‘talking heads’ type of content in order to be able re-make and re-package the content. However if producer ownership would prevent that happening, ‘locked down’ completed clips would be an acceptable starting point for testing out content sharing.

3. Including hyperlocal providers in training and events.
If the BBC is to fulfil its public remit in developing its media partnership work then this would be essential. The training element could be extremely useful as it can be expensive for hard-pressed independents to access the latest knowledge. The wider benefits generated from creating links and professional connections across the different media operators in a given locality could also reap far bigger rewards.

4. Promotion.
I hope that all local BBC teams can be made aware of hyperlocals operating in their area and that they will help to promote the updated register of hyperlocal sites which we at Talk About Local are helping Carnegie UK to publish.

5. The 100 local court and council reporters proposal.
I know this wasn’t strictly within the scope of the hyperlocal consultation but I’d like you to consider it within the developments. It wasn’t clear in the recent Charter Review announcement of this aspect whether hyperlocal operators will benefit from this scheme alongside the (reluctant) mainstream media. I would urge you to ensure this is the case. As well as being recipients of the material produced by this new pool of journalists, I would also hope that hyperlocal operators could pitch for the contracts where appropriate. I was also concerned that rural areas might miss out on the new service with it being limited to just 100 journalists. It would be useful to see how the locations will be selected for coverage with safeguards built in to avoid a purely metropolitan service.

Thanks again for engaging in the hyperlocal sector and I look forward to seeing the outcome in November.

Written by sarahhartley

September 30th, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Responsive Web Design, crisis management and opportunity – three dates for northern media diaries

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Responsive Web Design on the agenda
The Digital Editors’ Network (DEN) is hosting an event looking at RWD or to put it simply – design that works across a variety of devices – in Preston next month.
Introducing the session, the François Nel, Director of the Journalism Leaders Programme, says:
“Sure, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the approach to web design that intends to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones. But we’ll also be thinking more laterally about what Responsive Design means.”

The free event includes an in-depth case study from MNA Digital development manager Mark Cadman and electronic editor Abigail Edge who led the team that charted the Express and Star and Shropshire Star’s route to responsive web design will be lifting the lid on that innovative project – and how their efforts have paid off.

#ResponsiveDEN Digital Editors Network Winter 2013 meetup is on Thursday 21 February from 12:45 PM to 6:30 PM at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. Tickets need to be booked here.

Crisis? Help at hand in York
Former BBC chief media spokesperson Donald Steel has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at a leading business event in York this spring, reports OneandOther.
Donald Steel was, for 11 years, the BBC’s chief media spokesperson, where he handled some of the most prominent media stories of the decade, from the murder of BBC presenter Jill Dando and a terrorist bomb attack on BBC Television Centre, to the Hutton Inquiry.

The evening lecture, Crisis Communications – an investment in company value, will be held at the Hospitium in York on Thursday 7th March 2013 at Museum Gardens. Tickets cost £15+VAT for IoD members and £25+VAT for non-members.Book at the IoD website.

Opportunities and challenges in Manchester
Insight Thirteen from Don’t Panic is a one-day seminar with lunch that takes place at The Studio, Lever Street in Manchester on Friday 25 January 2013 between 10am – 4.10pm.
The event will examine potential opportunities and challenges for 2013 and will feature leading industry speakers from the digital, marketing and communication arenas sharing their insights on trends they believe these sectors will see in the coming year. Each speaker will give a thirty-minute overview presentation and then join an interactive Q & A panel session.Tickets here.

Journalism lecturer admits he was wrong,Teesside prepares to refresh and child literacy campaign in Leeds

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‘I was wrong’
Journalism lecturer Richard Horsman proves he’s big enough to admit he may have been wrong in his initial assessment of the BBC Radio England which is due to launch from Leeds next week. He blogs:

This is going to be awkward. Not as awkward as the Mayans trying to explain away January, admittedly, but still difficult……….

Being away from ‘hubs of creativity’ should bring benefits. There’ll be less temptation to recycle guests, as has been known to happen with BBC Breakfast and Five Live coming out of the same building. Producers are more likely to rub shoulders with and pick up the concerns of real  50-summat C2DE local radio listeners in Leeds bus station or Kirkgate Market, the Beeb’s immediate neighbours, than they are in Costa Coffee amid the Disneyworld perfection of Media City. So I for one am prepared to give this version of Radio England a fair chance.

 

Let’s get together
The north’s digital events calendar gets back to work next week with Manchester’s Social Media Cafe on Tuesday and the north east’s Refresh Teesside on Wednesday. Update Mon 7 Jan: This event has been cancelled but will be back in February.

It’s all about the community running the community. It’s always about the people. That’s why the people who do the talks are from the community. They’re all giving back to each other and working together.

Refresh Teesside organiser James Mills explains what’s behind the networking event that’s approaching its first birthday – even though it’s nearly four years old! He explains more here at Betarocket.

Wednesday’s first event of 2013 includes a talk by Charlotte Considine about the Urban Pioneers project. Book your free ticket here.

Meanwhile Smc_Mcr goes informal with a ‘simple get-together, down at The Britons Protection from 6pm onwards on Tuesday 8 Jan. Details here.

 

Get Leeds reading
The Yorkshire Evening Post is going to run a three month long programme in conjunction with charity Beanstalk to help primary school children with their reading.

Features editor Jayne Dawson tells HoldtheFrontPage:  “There is nothing more vital in education than learning to read, but a distressing number of children in Leeds leave their primary school without this basic skill.”

Beanstalk CEO Sue Porto say it aims to recruit 40 new Reading Helpers to double the number of children supported in Leeds from 120 to 240 and aims to raise at least £40,000.

Written by sarahhartley

January 4th, 2013 at 8:27 am

2013: What’s on the cards for media in the north

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Starting the year with a look at what could be in store for the media in the north during 2013.

Picture from last month’s Bradford Animation Festival by the National Media Museum on Flickr.

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Good news for Media City?
Of course it was too much to hope for. I had thought we might get all the way into the new year without a knocking story about Media City appearing in the nationals but then this arrived from The Telegraph.

Now I don’t have any problem with the investigation into costs – although I personally don’t see why a single penny needs to be paid out to persuade people to move north when there’s so much talent already here – it’s a fair enough question to ask on behalf of us licence fee payers.

But what I did find startling was the quote attributed to the Angie Bray, a Conservative member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee (bolding mine):

I can’t help feeling that Salford is an expensive box- ticking exercise. I absolutely understand that the BBC feels the need to demonstrate that they are not entirely London-centric but the fact is the programming from Salford is not as good and it is costing an awful lot of money.

Apart from showing a lack of understanding of long-term costs, where does the evidence for this ‘fact’ come from? How is the quality of programming gauged exactly? Whatever your view on the BBC’s new home, having MPs of any party making unexplained judgements of opinion on the quality of programming and presenting them as fact is something we should all be wary of.

Although I haven’t written so much about Media City recently, I remain an avid follower of all that happens there and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling a little rush of pride when the announcers say ‘produced in Salford’ or ‘going over to our Salford studio’. Now the site itself looks more established, as well as the general public being more aware thanks to the regular credits, here’s hoping the knocking stage of its evolution is now over.

New look websites and apps for many northern newspapers
Trinity Mirror, which runs the websites for many big city titles including the Manchester Evening News and The Journal is rolling out a new look and new functionality after a launch in Birmingham in October. The new versions reportedly include built-in live blog technology, better presentation of picture galleries and video, and a new hyperlocal section called In Your Area – more on that here.

Meanwhile, Johnston Press gets app-y with titles including The Yorkshire Post, The Sheffield Star and The Sunderland Echo. Developed by Pagesuite Ltd, all 18 titles will also launch Android versions which will work on devices including the new Amazon Kindle Fire, the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.Alex Gubbay, Director Digital Platforms, said: “The range of more affordable tablet devices now available is expanding rapidly. Our new iPad and Android apps allow us to tap into this growing trend and learn how best to offer users the best from their local title in a more dynamic, convenient way.

The Skinny on its way to the north west
The crowded cultural sector of Manchester and Liverpool is just about to get even busier as Scottish publisher The Skinny prepares to set up shop. Currently seeking various editorial positions (including editor) the magazine will hope the independent stance which has made it a must-read for Edinburgh will travel across the border. Longtime followers of this blog might remember that we’ve been here before…….http://www.sarahhartley.me.uk/2010/04/19/no-skinny-for-manchester/

High praise for north east weekly paper
The Teesdale Mercury, ‘the voice of Teesdale since 1854′, newspaper found itself in line for praise by MPs discussing the future of he local press. It reports that Helen Goodman, Shadow Minister for Media and Communications, said: “Notwithstanding whatever marvellous local newspapers honourable members have, none could be better than the inestimable Teesdale Mercury.”

All change for The Guardian in the north
The irrepressible Martin Wainwright is today replaced by new Northern Editor Helen Pidd who takes on the mammoth task of walking in the outgoing Northern editor’s shoes. As anyone who has had the pleasure of working with, or even just following his writing knows, Martin will be a hard act to follow as a tireless champion of the north against the increasing London-centricity of the national media. He writes more here:

For most of my time, and during my 37 years at the Guardian which will finish at the end of March, my method has been to get as much about the north into the paper as possible. In recent years, that has changed with the move to digital-first and the chance to try new ways of coverage such as the Northerner. I have loved this, as a way of using the resources of the north to describe and discuss the north; more than 200 people have contributed posts in the 22 months since we changed from a weekly email to daily blogging.

A fond farewell to Martin – and a warm welcome to Helen for 2013.

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Written by sarahhartley

January 1st, 2013 at 10:12 am

BBC North job applicants, hires and paygrades

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This morning over at The Northerner I posted details from a recent Freedom of Information request which gives more infomation about the number of people applying for jobs and MediaCityUK, those who were hired and the paygrades in place at the new home of the Beeb in the north.

To provide further transparency, I’ve also published the full document below.

The data referred to is also available in spreadsheet form via my data store page. Please do drop me a line in the comments below if you use this data elsewhere.

[scribd id=78336085 key=key-1wghrfooctk7tdabx4gn mode=list]

Written by sarahhartley

January 16th, 2012 at 8:46 am

BBC’s Salford leaflets: Your views?

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As I reported on The Guardian’s Organ Grinder blog today, the newsletter exercise to inform Salford residents about the BBC move to MediaCityUK is set to cost almost £10,000 over the year.

Is that value for money?

So far the comments have been from people who aren’t in receipt of the newsletters from BBC Outreach. I’d like to hear from anyone who has had one delivered to their door – did you find it useful? What do you hope to see in future issues?

Please feel free to contact me below or via email to sarahMancunianWay AT googlemail.com.

Written by sarahhartley

November 22nd, 2010 at 6:15 pm

The Next Digital Generation: ProDev Day

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Adrian Slatcher reports from today’s ProDev Day.

I am at the John Dalton Building at MMU this afternoon for this year’s ProDev Day. Organised by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School this is a unique opportunity for students across all of the city’s HE institutions to find out about all the opportunities available in the fast growing digital sector in the North West.

For employers – and unique amongst this kind of event, employers are more in attendance than public agencies – it’s a golden opportunity to make some initial connections with the current crop of students. As David Edmundson-Bird, Director of Executive Programmes at the MMU Business School, recently said at the Social Media Cafe, by the time companies come to him each summer looking for the best digital talent in the region, that talent will already have found jobs.

With BBC – one of the attendees here – moving to New Media City, there’s a unique opportunity for NW based graduates and post-graduates to start their career in the region, without having to move to London or elsewhere.

Already a leading city for digital development, Manchester is uniquely placed to bring together both employers and potential employees. The digital sector is very varied and their are a wide range of companies in attendance from media sales to software development.

Last year’s event was a busy day for everyone and the wide range of companies and agencies who have given their time up to attend this event is a testimony both to the city’s wide-ranging digital sector and to the benefit that a sector specific careers fair such as this can bring.

More information on the day can be seen via Twitter, (#prodevday or follow @prodevday)or previous events are archived at their Youtube channel. This years event is being filmed by local production company Threedegreeswest and highlights from the day will put online in the next week or so.

Update: Here’s one of the presentations given today.


Written by sarahhartley

November 10th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Happy Birthday Social Media Cafe!

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Manchester’s Social Media Cafe marks its second anniversary tonight – a milestone occasion as I wrote elsewhere yesterday.

For that PDA blogpost I talked to the three people most active in organising tonight’s event at BBC Club – here’s their complete answers to the questions put below.

Unfortunately work commitments will keep me from celebrating at the event tonight however, if anyone wants to submit a guest post from the proceedings, please do get in touch, email is SarahMancunianWay At Googlemail.com.

Have a great night all!

1. When and why did you get involved in the social media cafe?
Josh: I got involved with the Social Media Cafe at the first meeting which I heard about via Twitter. It was held during the first week that I’d moved to Manchester to start a new job in the digital sector and it seemed like a good place to get to meet the city’s digital community. The atmosphere was very friendly and I felt like I’d managed to make a number of positive connections.
Following that, I kept coming back and ran a session quite early on, sharing some knowledge I’d learned about using video and social media. I guess my persistence paid off, as I eventually become more involved with running the event, initially by maintaining the online community side of things at socialmediamanchester.net.

Julian: Originally got the idea for the Social Media Cafe after following a blog by @sizemore who is a screen writer. It was there that I hooked up with Martin. You can see the comments here it didn’t take long http://www.sizemore.co.uk/2008/10/06/one-door-closes/#comments
I felt that it was needed because it seemed that there was a lot of cool stuff being done in Manchester but there was no regular event for people to get together and discuss social media and technology at the time. It was then that I met you by coincidence.

Martin: It all started back in autumn 2008 at a time when Twitter was starting to gain a wider audience and new technologies like live video streaming were being experimented with by geeks, bloggers and reporters. I read a blog post by Mike Atherton, AKA Sizemore, about the Tuttle Club in London. This weekly Friday meetup of people involved in social media sounded great and I left a comment saying
that it was exactly the kind of thing I’d want to go to if it happened in Manchester. Julian Tait, who I’d never met, left a similar comment and Mike replied saying that if we wanted it we should build it.
A couple of meetings later, we’d assembled a group of like-minded people to help set up a Manchester Social Media Cafe. Typically for Manchester, we did it our own way. Rather than a Friday morning coffee
event, we chose to hold it in the evening do so that we could attract people whose day jobs wouldn’t allow them time off to hang out with a load of geeks. It’s not so true now but at the time the number of
people making a living from social media in Manchester was minuscule.
When 80 people turned up on the first night we knew we were onto something. It quickly became a focal point for like-minded people across the northwest whether they had a professional or personal interest in social media.

2. Why do you think it has lasted?
Josh: Despite a rapidly developing digital scene, I think the Social Media Cafe has endured because it’s a dynamic and changing event that keeps up with what the community wants it to do. Though there are a few of us who play a co-ordination role, it’s really up to the community as to what they want to hear about each month; every event, we ‘crowdsource’ the agenda which means we’ll always have something of interest to most people, and something that’s usually quite topical. For example, in the run-up to the last election, we had a talk from Openly Local, a project seeking to open up local election data. That spawned a piece of work by Trafford Council to apply those principles across all their data sets, which is something I’m really pleased to be able to point to as a tangible benefit from getting involved in the Social Media Cafe. This month, we have the team behind the Greater Manchester Police’s Twitter experiment, which created headlines all over the world.

Julian: There is a really nice supportive community that has developed around the Social Media Cafe and I think one reason why this has happened is that I think no-one has tried to take ownership of it. It can be what people want to make of it. I think the format of the event has been such that it reflects the diversity of its audience. This has come about through an evolution of its format from panel discussion through to unConference.

3.What’s your highlight from the past two years?
Josh: It’s tough to pick out a highlight, but something that’s stuck in my mind is the crowdsourced video that was made by Social Meida Cafe participants about their memories of Ceefax. A slightly obscure topic perhaps, but there were some great reminders how Teletext changed people’s lives, and the interactive element that was the message boards: one of the early examples of social media.

Julian: Over the last two years the highlights, for me have been some of the more left field presentations. From talks about Emoticons through Mertz Web and Literature. It also has been crucial to starting a number of initiatives such as the regularly attended Social Media Surgeries, Manchester Aggregator as well as being key in helping Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council releasing election data after Chris Taggart spoke at SMC.

Martin: I don’t really have one highlight but what I’m most proud of is how it’s helped all sorts of projects bloom across Manchester, from social media surgeries for businesses to transmedia storytelling projects.
Many more digital community events have sprung up since like we started and it’s great to have been there, helping Manchester’s digital scene develop in our own small way.

4. Has it had any impact on other parts of your life – new job perhaps?
Josh: Getting involved in the Social Media Cafe has been a great way to network with the local digital community, which has given me access to the skills and knowledge of some incredibly talented people. It’s been really useful to know who to call to solve a problem, who might be available for work or who might want to tender for a project that I’m working on. I also feel that the community is a really collaborative one that looks out for each other – and in a climate where jobs are hard to come by, and more people might lose their jobs, I feel that my future prospects are stronger by having been involved. By taking on the online community management aspect of the event, I also feel that I’ve developed new skills that I can market to future employers.

Julian: It has impacted in numerous ways. For a start Littlestar, my company was supporting the Social Media Cafe with equipment and time at the beginning and through it I came to work for FutureEverything. I have also met many people who I now regard as good friends through the Cafe it is after all a very sociable place

Martin: Social Media Cafe really signalled the start of a new chapter in my
life. The network of people I’ve met through it helped me move from a
job that had run its course for me to one directly involved in social
media and digital content. I’m not the only one though, seeing people
go away from talks feeling inspired and trying new things is really
rewarding.

5. What does the future hold for Manchester’s social media cafe – hopes or fears?
Josh: I think the Social Media Cafe has been an incredible catalyst, bringing together Manchester’s digital and creative community in a unique way. Our attendee list is so diverse every month – comms, PR, journalists, developers, designers, techies – and beyond – teachers, lecturers… I could go on. This has meant we’ve spawned some incredible collaboration and spinoff events, like the Social Media Surgeries, Connecting 2.0 Communities; and been involved in bringing people together to start projects like Inside the M60, the MadLab and the Manchester Aggregator.

However, this has meant that we’re competing for space in a slightly more crowded digital sphere! I feel though, that this has presented an opportunity and, over the last 12 months, I’ve been working with Julian and Martin to develop the online network. Social Media Manchester is centred around the Social Media Cafe, but is a place for everyone and anyone interested in social media to get together, collaborate and start new things. It takes the discussions and the collaboration that happen at the event and lets it happen online. We’re coming up to almost a 1,000 members, and I think this just demonstrates what a strong and enduring digital community that we have in Manchester.

Julian: I would hope that more people get involved with the running of the Cafe which I think will happen, the more people involved with the running the more representative and relevant it will be. It does take work to manage it, especially with finding venues and sourcing guest speakers.

Martin: Although social media is far more mainstream than it was two years ago and the novelty factor has gone, the event still draws big numbers each month and I can’t see it dying any time soon. It’s a good starting point for anyone wanting to get involved in the local scene. We might have to tweak the format but from time to time but it’s such a huge area, with lots to debate and explore that there’s sure to be a role for it for a long time to come. The only thing we’d like is more people to volunteer to help run the event. Julian, Josh and I are all
really busy, meaning that some months end up being organised a little more hurriedly than we’d like.

Written by sarahhartley

November 2nd, 2010 at 5:51 pm