Taxing community engagement and other thoughts from the BBC’s connecting communities conf.

I spent the day at sunny media city in Salford for the BBC College of Journalism’s connecting communities conference ( #BBCscc12). I had a few observations/thoughts that I wanted to get out of my head.

  • Social media verification is the new community management –  It was clear that the amount of time, effort and commitment, needed to validate social media leads and content is out of the capacity of most MSM outlets. Citizenside co-sponsored the conference and there was a good showing from Stroyful as well and, as services, they get a lot of traction in MSM. That’s a lot like the outsourcing of community management (comment handling etc) we used to see. Another opportunity outside the MSM mothership for social savvy journalists.
  • Hyperlocal is a mixed message – I’m not sure if it constitutes two types of hyperlocal or just competing motivations but there seemed to be some conflicting demands from hyperlocals. All claimed a connection to community (which is fair) and many spoke at length about altruism and affinity. But there was also a strong sentiment in the room that large MSM (the BBC ) should a)recognise (even validate) the ‘journalism’ and b)promote (advertise) them to keep them going. Neither seemed to me a particularly attractive proposition for any MSM.

    In reality I know, it’s a complex mix, profile is important as is revenue. But I just got the sense that, given that more ‘pro’ journos are starting hyperlocals, that more thought needs to be given to the purpose of a hyperlocal proposition Vs where journalists seek validation for the impact. The question I asked was ‘why do you want recognition from the MSM?’. That wasn’t meant to be critical. Think it’s something that needs more thought if you’re going to have a coherent proposition to ‘sell’.

  • Organisations who use communities should be none profit or pay a fee – I was listening to a panel debate on money and resources. At one point I closed my eyes and it seemed like two of the panel members could have been interchangeable. They were all talking about how their engagement with communities ‘changed lives’. It was a bit of an x-factor moment. But when I opened them again only one of them (community media association) was, by law, a not for profit. The other was Archant.

    I wondered if, given the positive value of community involvement, organisations would be happy to operate in part as a none-profit just like community broadcasters. After all they claim the same impacts (Perhaps community broadcasting would like to be released from those rules. Who knows.) Maybe we could release MSM from a need to credit etc as long as they are clear at the point of collection UGC that they don’t and in return take a community media subscription fee from them each year.  Lets say 15% of profit. Maybe a percentage worked out on the amount of UGC in their publications; .5% for every 2% of UGC content.  That could go in to a foundation style pot to encourage innovation.

  • Sometimes the community say it better than any journalist can 
Other perspectives

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