Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Community Media News

Home Office Minister Opens the CMA's Festival of Community Media
Paul Goggins, Home Office Minister with responsibility for community and the voluntary sector, opened the Festival with a speech which showed delegates that some members of the government did know what Community Media was about, and to prove it, he played a clip from his local station, Wythenshawe FM (WFM) in Manchester, featuring not only him but Tony Blair talking to the station. A station that runs with over 80 volunteers, eight of which are under 16.

He said; "This sector has enormous potential, to use communication as a means to regeneration, engagement and involvement, in a way that we've only really just begun to scratch the surface of." He continued, "Community Media is a way of harnessing and challenging the very real and diverse talents to be found in all of our neighbourhoods, bringing people together can help to build up the community."

He also enthused how WFM, one of the 15 pilot radio stations, with its energy, hard work and effort has become part of the media landscape in Manchester; with not only local news, but regular interviews and reports of how national issues are affecting the local community. He mentioned how WFM, like the other Community Radio Stations, has been producing programmes about crime, engaging directly with Public Services and the community to help change peoples' perceptions of their neighbourhoods.

Award Shows Recognition For Community Media in Fife
A new Community Media organisation, based at BRAG Enterprises in Crosshill and Lochgelly in Fife, has won a national award for its business plan and praise from Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Subliminal Directions was created by two Fife based social entrepreneurs, Mark Kelly and Duncan McMahon whilst attending the School for Social Entrepreneurs (based at BRAG) in 2003-04. Mark entered the 'Subliminal' business plan into the Junior Chamber International Best Business Plan of the Year (Scotland) award 2005.

Mark had been writing this plan for over 3 years so took the chance to send it in to the competition and although he believed the plan to be the best concept to create change in our communities, was stunned when it won with a unanimous decision. Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell awarded Mark the prize in Edinburgh.

Mark was also congratulated by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown on the award and the progress of Subliminal Directions on his visit to BRAG Enterprises Ltd, where the organisation is developing its Community Media production studio.

Volunteers take centre stage in unique production opportunity
CSV has been tapping into media talent from all over the UK by offering wannabe and established journalists and filmmakers the chance to capture on camera or in sound, the fascinating stories of how volunteering can change people's lives.

Volunteer Britain is a unique national film, audio and digital storytelling competition, which aims to challenge and change perceptions of volunteering in Britain.The competition was launched by CSV on 6 April and will run until 16 September 2005, with regional finals then a national final taking place a in October.

The Video Nation category of the competition, which has now closed, was a great success, with volunteers from around the UK submitting both inspiring and heart-warming stories of how volunteering has literally transformed their lives.Three lucky entrants will have their stories made into video diaries by the BBC's Video
Nation team in June and July, then aired in August.

The attention now turns to the production side of the competition, in which volunteers are invited to make their own films, audio clips and digital stories about the power of volunteering. A selection of entries will be shown on the Community Channel, BBC local radio, on the web and in local cinemas. The Community Channel will be working in partnership with CSV and the Volunteer England consortium to help promote the Year of the Volunteer.

Full details are available from Alternately, send an SAE to Volunteer Britain Entry Forms,Volunteer Britain, CSV, 237 Pentonville Road, LONDON, N1 9NJ. Your entry must reach them by September 16th.

Community Media Projects Shortlisted for Media Award
209radio, spotlighted in the last edition of Airflash, and the 'Visible Voices' project, were short-listed for the New Statesman New Media Awards 2005 for Community and Information. The key themes of this year's awards are "ingenuity, modernisation and accessibility". They intend to award those who have achieved something of benefit to others, whether in their community or in society at large. Since 1998, these awards have promoted projects that embrace new technology, fresh thinking and creative management in the UK.

"Society has always been promised a great deal by the digital revolution," says John Kampfner, editor of the New Statesman. "The 2005 New Media Awards will highlight the projects that have really delivered on that promise."

'Visible Voices' is an online archive of video media developed by the Community Media Association for Surrey County Council as one of the Local E-Democracy National Pilot Projects funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It was launched in March at the Science Museum in Kensington.

Visible Voices extends the free and open source technologies developed for 'The Showcase' - the world's first streaming media archive of radio, TV and Internet projects from the Community Media sector which enables new audiences to access Community Media via the Internet.
Director of the CMA, Diane Reid, said, "Visible Voices builds upon the success of the CMA's Showcase of Community Media and is part of our commitment to assist individuals and organisations to develop Community Media on as many platforms as possible."
Karl Hartland, one of the Directors from 209radio commented: "This is a bit of a shock and a great honour, especially as 209radio is still waiting for the decision on our FM licence application! It shows how ordinary people can use basic technology to make a real difference. It also shows how Community Media, as the new third tier in UK broadcasting, is already making waves."

Mental Health Media and Community Media
David Jones from the learning difficulties project of Mental Health Media visited the CMA's office last month to look into possibilities of involving people with learning difficulties in Community Media. His project, which is under the umbrella of Mental Health Media, is helping people with learning difficulties make better use of the media in terms of consumers, creators, contributors and content.

MEdia is a project that brings together people with learning difficulties and those with expertise in the media and production to help promote and support media involvement for people with learning difficulties. It has been developed with significant input from people with learning difficulties, while the project, and steering committee are both staffed by a number people with learning difficulties.

The project monitors newspapers, magazines, radio and television programmes to see how people with learning difficulties are represented. They have also been asking people with learning difficulties what they think about the way they are shown in the media, what media they use and in what ways. To find out more, check out their website

CMA Webcasts Orange Prize for Fiction
The webcast for the Orange Prize for Fiction was delivered last week by the Community Media Association in partnership with the book charity Booktrust and leading Internet media specialists Futurate from Portman Square, London. The Orange Prize, which is for women's fiction, was set up in 1996 because the founders were concerned that many of the biggest literary prizes often appeared to overlook wonderful writing by women.

This year's high-profile event was attended by celebrities from television and the media including Kate Adie, Jo Brand, William Hague and Jenni Murray. The webcast of the event was watched by individual readers, libraries and booksellers. Bill Best, Technical Manager at the CMA, said "The CMA was pleased to deliver a high-quality streaming media service to this important event."

All-Party Parliamentary Community Media Group AGM 2005
The All-Party Parliamentary Community Media Group will hold its fourth Annual General Meeting in July in Westminster. The Group's purpose is to support the growth and development of Community Media (including Community Radio, Community Television, and Community Internet) and to promote understanding of the contribution which Community Media can make to social inclusion, neighbourhood renewal, citizens' participation, local democracy and lifelong learning.

The Officers for the Group are: Ian Stewart MP (Chair), Ian Liddell- Grainger MP (Vice Chair),Tony Lloyd MP (Vice Chair), and Derek Wyatt MP (Secretary). The Community Media Association provides the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Community Media Group. Encourage your MP to participate.

Boss Swap
Mary Dowson, Project Director at Bradford Community Broadcastng and the CMA's Chair, swapped places for a week with BBC Radio Leeds' Managing Editor John Ryan.The exchange resulted in a short film, which will be shown on the Community Channel and available on the CMA's website soon. John and Mary will tell their stories in the next issue of Airflash.The swap was part of a project to increase understanding between BBC staff and Community Media organisations.

CMA Gives Evidence On BBC Green Paper To Lords
Diane Reid, representing the CMA, with Caroline Deihl, Chief Executive of the Media Trust and Jocelyn Hay CBE, Hon. Chair of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Future of the BBC last month. The three organisations are on the steering committee of
Public Voice, a coalition which represents voluntary sector views on citizens' interests in relation to communications policy and regulation.

The three emphasised the need for participation and representation in BBC programme making and for equitable partnership arrangements with Community Media organisations. The full transcript of the session will soon be available through the CMA's website.

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