Over the next few months social reporters David Wilcox (that’s me), John Popham, and network specialist Drew Mackie, will be are exploring with Big Lottery Fund how people can best share stories about community-led action through events and networking, using a mix of media.
We’ll be doing that as rather junior partners in BIG’s People Powered Change programme. That’s the banner for millions of pounds of funding in England to support action by local groups, and national initiatives. You can see the rather more substantial partners here.
The three of us have worked in this field for some time, and naturally we are rather excited to be able to bring our ideas and experience to the programme. It’s a little daunting, but fortunately we’ll mainly be amplifying the activities of others through the social reporter role of making sense, joining up and helping out – as I explain in general terms here.
The idea of working with BIG came up because there’s some terrific examples of community reporting on the ground, like People’s Voice Media, major initiatives supported by BIG like Your Square Mile, and the Media Trust news hubs, independent initiatives like Our Society … plus scores of others … but often people don’t know what the others are doing.
Great stories are missed, work is duplicated, and there’s much grumbling about the people who can make it breakfast launches in London getting an unfair slice of the action through well-honed networking skills. I was cheeky enough to write that People Powered Change needs ppchange communications, and it seems that BIG agrees.
More specifically, we’ve agreed that “over the next few months we will be:
- mapping the national networks that help people share and collaborate
- showing how social media can extend events beyond those in the room
- promoting examples of reporting that help give citizens and local groups a stronger voice
- reporting ourselves on some key events and activities
“As well as showing some great examples of what’s happening, Social Reporters will work with BIG and others to strengthen existing networks and build new ones”.
I’ve provided this background, including links to somewhat critical pieces, because John and I will be doing something of a balancing act. On the one hand we’ll be playing the traditional reporter role of questioning and challenging, while on the other looking for potential collaborations rather than conflicts, celebrations rather than crises.
We are hugely grateful to BIG for supporting the experiment. We’ll be blogging here about the People Powered Change work, and also about anything else that might be relevant.
Thanks to our friends at Ruralnet Futures for setting this blog up so quickly. It’s rather plain at present, but we’ll be adding more features and a wiki, with lots of photos and videos, and invitations to join in.
Meanwhile do drop a comment, or get in touch here.