How can mainstream and community media co-exist and collaborate?
The BBC College of Journalism is holding a major conference to explore the subject at the BBC's new offices at MediaCityUK in Salford on 24 May.
The format is a one-day conference, created in collaboration with Paris-based user generated content agency Citizenside. It will combine keynote speeches, panel discussions, short practical presentations from leading practitioners and significant structured networking opportunities.
For a number of years there has been growing engagement between mainstream media and a number of community media organisations - from hyperlocal bloggers and citizen journalists in the UK telling their own stories to their own readers, to people providing eyewitness reports, photos and video of the world's major stories to major news organisations like the BBC. User generated content has become a major part of all newsgathering operations around the world.
However, it's fair to say, this relationship has been at times been tense - characterised more often by mutual suspicion than trust and respect. Mainstream media has been accused of taking material without sufficient reward, financial or otherwise, while community journalists find themselves operating to their own set of rules that don't connect with those understood by their "professional" colleagues.
Community journalism offers an important and dynamic contribution to the media landscape in the UK - now more than ever before. There have been attempts to build an alliance - from all sides: the mainstream media, through academic research, government and non-government bodies and community media organisations.
We want to support this work, by providing a significant opportunity for all sides to come together in a concerted attempt to make future relationships more productive.
The conference will offer a platform to debate how this partnership can work most effectively. The focus is wide: we will be looking at engagement with local and hyperlocal, national, international, cultural and interest communities.
We want this to be the biggest and most productive gathering of its type, with all the key players in this field attending. We already have delegates and speakers from a wide spectrum, including the BBC and other broadcasters, universities, the national, regional and local press, Ofcom, NESTA, The Media Trust, J-Lab in the United States, a range of hyperlocal bloggers in the UK, international community media organisations and global newsgathering agencies.
The conference will focus on three areas:
- Quality and Values
Can and should mainstream and community media work to the same editorial and technical qualities and values?
- Money and Resources
Often the cause of most friction, but how can mainstream media help to support a sustainable community media landscape?
It's clear there are a number of very successful examples of how this relationship can thrive. We will be inviting success stories to outline how and why it has worked so well.
We are very keen to encourage debate in the run up to the day and welcome any thoughts on how we can make it as successful as possible.