October 25, 2009
I spent a few days last week at a European conference on media literacy, at the invitation of Ed Klute who runs the excellent trans-European Media Coaches network. I came away thinking there could be really useful connections with local progammes over here, including Talk About Local and Community Voices.
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Media Coaches are digital mentors who are trained to work with colleagues in schools, libraries and other public bodies to help with basic Internet skills and use of social media. We had a great session playing a version of the social media game, as you can see above. I think the reporting back I videod from the discussion groups will strike a cord with others who have played the game, and show some similarities in neighbourhood issues across Europe. You can see those reports here.
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I also talked to Peter de Groot and Simon Strömberg about the changing local media scene. Peter teaches media economics, while Simon works in the field for the Culture Administration in Stockholm. The message from Peter was clear: journalists entering the profession - or aiming to stay in it - have to work across media and be capable of working in print, radio, video, online and with mobile devices.\
Simon says the see the rise of the communications social entrepreneur: young people working on their own or in small companies who may take on a mix of roles … sometimes journalist, sometimes doing other work. While they may be operating in the same space as the community-based activists, they are looking to earn a living rather than campaign on a particular topic. However they are all using social media that will, in different ways, bring social change.
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Talking to Judith Heykers about Community Media Centres in The Hague revealed a lot of similarities with UK online centres, and the work of People’s Voice Media in the North West.\
I think we pay far too little attention to developments in Europe … probably because it’s just much easier to connect with the US and other English-speaking countries. However, all the Media Coaches I met were shamingly fluent in English, and if we just got together we would learn a lot and help build a much stronger network across Europe of people really passionate about the potential of social media for community benefit.\
How about organising an unconference next year and inviting people over? Or just making sure we extend invitations to any future events in the UK?