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sxs:social-and-community-reporters-16-09-2009 [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Social and community reporters - with other digital gardeners
 +
 +September 16, 2009
 +
 +I’ve been encouraging people who are coming to the [workshop on
 +Monday](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​events/​local-communities) to
 +preview any idea they want to raise … so here’s mine. It’s about the new
 +roles we’ll need for local communication and collaboration … the bundles
 +of skills, attitudes, enthusiasms people will need to make the new tech
 +tools work. In particular the community and social reporters.\
 +
 +We’ll certainly need the visionaries inside and outside government who
 +are thinking in the round as traditional local media reduces staffing or
 +closes; as public services go online and data is (hopefully) released
 +for others to use; as some activists become sophisticated in using
 +social media and promoting their causes, while others find their voice
 +less heard.\
 +
 +We can do with help in reflecting on just what we are trying to achieve
 +by promoting local blogging and online communities:​ campaigning,​
 +conversation,​ innovative projects, better connections,​ great community
 +coherence. When someone asks in the community “why should I bother with
 +your social whatsit” what do you say?\
 +
 +So - we need **strategists** who can see the bigger picture, and explain
 +what’s possible.\
 +
 +We also need the **bloggers and community managers** who set up systems
 +for themselves and others, and then do all the day-to-day work of
 +recruiting others, encouraging contributions,​ making links, doing the
 +daily digital housekeeping.\
 +
 +They may need **social media developers** to evolve and tweak the tools\
 +
 +The managers, and others in the community who are learning news tools,
 +will benefit hugely from **digital mentors**: people with technical
 +skills who don’t grab the mouse, but are patient in helping people
 +figure out how to achieve what they need, and then do it for themselves
 +next time around.\
 +
 +I’ve taken these roles from [an excellent post by Steph
 +Gray](http://​blog.helpfultechnology.com/​2009/​02/​defining-the-roles-within-digital-engagement/​).
 +He’s writing about digitalengagement from the perspective of Government,
 +but I think the core roles hold true in any area of activity.\
 +
 +Of course, people may have to occupy more than one role - wear more than
 +one hat. The digital communication and engagement roles have to sit
 +amidst the many others in a local community … the gossips, connectors,
 +organisers of events, writers of newsletters … who may themselves learn
 +new skills. We need a blend of communication methods and activities - a
 +media ecology. New species have to live with, and cross fertilise,
 +others in the garden. For that to work we need some sensitive digital
 +gardening, [as I wrote here](http://​socialreporter.com/?​p=637).\
 +
 +There’s one role I’m particular glad to see Steph adding: that of
 +**social reporter**. Steph focusses on this role as someone who is a
 +“Prolific writer, interviewer and conversationalist,​ able to convey the
 +spirit of an event through digital tools …” adding that they are
 +typically good at “Rapid, high quality conversational writing,
 +film-making and interviewing,​ real world networking, fast turnaround
 +editing and publishing”. I can identify with that, and - with others -
 +have [done quite a bit](http://​socialreporter.com/?​cat=978) at events
 +and on other occasions.\
 +
 +However, I think we can extend the role of social reporting to include
 +looking for stories across different online and face-to-face networks,
 +facilitating conversations,​ helping people find their voices online. At
 +the local level **community reporter** may be a better term, and based
 +in Manchester People’s Voice Media are [setting the
 +standard](http://​peoplesvoicemedia.co.uk/​community-reporters-program)
 +for the training that’s needed to help people become the
 +community-friendly journalists of the future.\
 +
 +We have an enormous amount to learn from the work that [Paul
 +Bradshaw](http://​onlinejournalismblog.com/​),​ [Nick
 +Booth](http://​podnosh.com/​) and other are doing in Birmingham with
 +projects like [Help Me Investigate](http://​www.helpmeinvestigate.com/​).\
 +
 +[Gary Copitch](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​profile/​GaryCopitch),​
 +who has done an amazing job developing [People’s Voice
 +Media](http://​peoplesvoicemedia.co.uk/​) and the community reporter
 +programme, can’t make it on Monday, but he, I and [Mark
 +Walker](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​profile/​markwalker) from
 +[SCIP](http://​www.scip.org.uk/​) are talking to [Jessica
 +Medling](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​profile/​jessicamedling) of the
 +Media Trust about how social and community reporting may figure in the
 +[Community Voices](http://​www.mediatrust.org/​communityvoices)
 +programmes. You’ll find us in the [socialreporter
 +group](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​group/​socialreporters) on this
 +network. Do join us.\
 +
 +I think we all agree that what’s needed is a training programme with
 +backup toolkits, and a network for social and community reporters to
 +share their experience and evolve this new role. [Clare
 +White](http://​localcommunities.ning.com/​profile/​clarewhite) [first
 +promoted this
 +idea](http://​socialmediacic.wikidot.com/​social-reporters-network-proposal)
 +to the Ministry of Justice Building Democracy Project, but didn’t secure
 +funding. Maybe just ahead of its time.\
 +
 +In addition, I think that social reporting is one of the ways in which
 +we can connect up the national programmes and local projects who are
 +meeting on Monday with others around the country, and in other
 +countries.\
 +
 +I’ve started to collect links about community and social reporting [here
 +on our
 +wiki](http://​localcommunities.wikispaces.com/​Social+and+community+reporters).\
 +
 +Just to start the discussion: do you think community and social
 +reporting is important for local communities?​ What other roles are
 +important - and how might they be developed and supported?
  
sxs/social-and-community-reporters-16-09-2009.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)