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partnerships:articles:manse [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +Helping media consumers become contributors
 +===========================================
 +
 +\
 + by Esa Sirkkunen \<<​esa.sirkkunen@uta.fi>​\>​\
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +*The University of Tampere, Finland, is helping people in local
 +communities use new media to promote discussion and tackle social
 +issues. Esa Sirkkunen describes their Locality in the Net project.*
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +**Some theoretical and practical commitments of the Locality in the
 +Global Net project.**
 +
 +Journalism critics are saying that today'​s commercially driven
 +journalism is detached from the lives and problems of its audience.
 +Journalism tends to follow the agenda of social elites rather than the
 +diverse agendas of other actors and groups. In this way journalism
 +offers the role of passive and helpless onlookers in relation to the
 +social world.
 +
 +**Locality in the Global Net** will be trying to find ways in which to
 +turn the audience (or at least the interested audience segments) into a
 +public defined more by an orientation to discussion and problem-solving
 +than by private consumption of media products. The key question concerns
 +the role that the Internet can play in this process.
 +
 +'​Virtual communities'​ often bring together like-minded people who share
 +similar values and life-styles. In the Locality project our chief
 +concern is not to create these kinds of virtual communities;​ we are more
 +interested in geographical communities,​ in the interaction going on
 +within these communities and in how the Net could help to promote and
 +enrich this interaction.
 +
 +New technologies are not inherently deliberative. The problem is how to
 +actualise the public and deliberative potential of new technologies by
 +encouraging people to apply them for purposes of exercising their
 +democratic rights, for making their voice heard, for telling their own
 +stories.
 +
 +The project will be cooperating with people who are active in their
 +communities,​ offering them the opportunity to use new digital media in
 +pursuing their goals. We do not believe that there is a growing demand
 +for these technologies as such; that is why we have to locate the
 +ongoing social interaction or public discussion and try to strengthen
 +it.
 +
 +In order to reach a broad and genuinely diverse audience, we will also
 +be employing '​old'​ media; this way we will be able to reach the audience
 +thatdoes not have access to computers. The Locality project is also
 +concerned to promote more equal access to new technologies because their
 +commercially based distribution tends to deepen social and cultural
 +differences. To reverse this undemocratic development,​ steps are needed
 +to broaden and equalise the distribution of computer literacy.
 +
 +In a nutshell, the Locality in the Global Net project is concerned to
 +
 +1.  create a local public sphere that is more citizen-oriented,​
 +    discussing, deliberative;​
 +2.  offer local communities an opportunity to become content producers;
 +3.  elaborate the role of journalism in the networked media environment
 +    and develop new concepts of journalism that take into account the
 +    active and discussing public;
 +4.  make these new technologies more accessible and usable.
 +
 +In a first step we have introduced the Mansetori &​endash;​ an umbrella
 +website for different activities (<​http://​mansetori.uta.fi)>​ More
 +information about Mansetori and contact information:​
 +<​http://​mansetori.uta.fi/​infoe.htm>​
 +
 +Esa Sirkkunen
 +
 +Researcher
 +
 +Journalism Research and Development Centre
 +
 +University of Tampere
 +
 +e-mail: <​esa.sirkkunen@uta.fi>​
 +
 +www.partnerships.org.uk/​articles/​manse.htm . August 1999.
 +
  
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