“SOUTHWARK.TV”

In late 2002 Community TV Trust launched its flagship project “Southwark.TV” which is PSB-nouveau … media by the people of the people for the people.

In late 2002 Community TV Trust launched its flagship project “Southwark.TV” which is PSB-nouveau … media by the people of the people for the people. Public service media par excellence. It is a web-based venture and has so far drawn together over 50 community organisations and schools across the Borough of Southwark in a focussed project to provide training and project support that may also turn consumers into producers. This is what technology has made possible and what efforts at empowering the disadvantaged desire.

New media must be involved in any consideration of PSB. Ofcom thinking has opened out – ‘national’ debate now includes ‘local’, broadcasting sits side by side with the internet and broadband. And mobile telephony too.

The public are involved, we are all media producers now. From what I see, communication is multiple, multi-faceted and multimedia. Media is, after all, the content offered in a communication, whether to broadband, a telephone or the post office, for delivery as a service …

I think we are on the edge of integrated PSB operating across traditional and new media platforms to serve in a focussed and educational way those who we know are ‘hard to reach’. What is better for PSB than to work side by side with PSM ?

Broadband And Internet

CTVT sought to launch a meaningful attempt at ‘TV by the people for the people’ but made no progress in conventional areas such as cable for delivering content.

Media debate must include broadband and the internet. CTVT sought to launch a meaningful attempt at ‘TV by the people for the people’ but made no progress in conventional areas such as cable for delivering content.

Only when the internet fully arrived did the answer reveal itself, wrapped up in the internet’s local-global conundrum. For me, from then on local TV was dotTV, free from regulation and at bewilderingly low cost.

Technology Redefines Media

Technology has Redefined how we broadcast, technology has also redefined who broadcasts what to whom and when.

You can shoot on miniDV tape using a digital camera of modest cost and find someone who will broadcast it for you. It no longer makes sense to continue the debate about PSB without altering the parameters.

Ergo, PSB if rechristened PSM is no longer the preserve of one-way broadcasters but is seen in new and broader contexts as belonging to us all. We may not all shoot HD but who cares if you have something to say ?

That is where it starts. Media training makes no sense if you do not ‘wire up the individual’ in a holistic manner. Get the head talking to the heart. It’ll flow from there.

Mainstream Media And Public Health

When I had set out on my career in TV, British television was an elitist world of three channels (C4 started in 1982) in some ways it still is elitist, but access has been revolutionised by technology, and technology has given rise to growth and opportunity in community media.

I am appalled sometimes at the quality of material broadcast on mainstream media. Not all of it of course, but the infatuation with celebrity rages on, as does the tendency towards negativity.

News is seduced by the availability of pictures, by celebrity, by shock and awe, by death, killing, violence and tragedy. Government ministers herald the public service value of TV inventions like Big Brother.

In absolute terms this may be right, but that is not where we are at. Would you talk to your child at breakfast each day about such bloody aspects of humanity’s approach to life when there are golden stories plain to see and ready to share ?

I believe that mainstream news is creating a public health issue by its relentless pursuit of negative content. This is not an argument for censoring the nasty bits, but let there be balance.

Not Just PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) But Also PSM (Public Service Media).

– time to shift the debate

I set up Community TV Trust [CTVT] in 1997 (it was incorporated in 1999, registered as a charity 2000) in order to pursue social and community aims and personal empowerment for people on a local basis.

My career in broadcasting stood me in good stead as a facilitator and trainer, I saw I could deal with anything.

I had worked on early access TV programmes at LWT and Granada TV. Once the power and potential of community media became clear to me, the direction was obvious.

Community Radio and TV Funding

– Parliamentary Debate

On Tuesday 24th April 2007 Parliament, via Westminster Hall, debated funding strategy and Parliamentary responsibility for community media. One of the first observations made was that community media builds the individual’s self esteem, as well as encouraging social engagement, political understanding, and the acquisition of basic IT skills.

‘Our Mission’ underlines our own understanding of why this is both achievable and relevant to community media practice.

Community TV Trust [CTVT] is keen to reach policy makers and to exert influence where it can. We have been consulted by the Liberal Democrat Party and by KEA, a Brussels based organisation working for the European Commission.

CTVT applauds the broad consensus achieved across the three main parties in this debate, all seeing value in funding on a sustainable basis the range of work undertaken by the community media sector. Benefits are now being widely understood at Parliamentary level.