Media organisations will get bigger in the future and dominate national and international news, but they also need to get smaller and meet the news and information demands of those living, working and trading in neighbourhoods, towns and villages.
The debate will go on and the big media organisations will grapple with making the hyperlocal model sustainable and how to utilise citizen journalism - meanwhile small scale local community websites will continue to bring local issues and events to the attention of local audiences.
Is the Hedon Blog conducting "citizen journalism"? I think not. Enthusiasm for a task - even tempered with experience - can never really compete with professionalism gleaned through training and study. However, where the Hedon Blog can compete is by acquiring and using local knowledge to become an active citizen.
Being an active citizen in the area where you live need not be difficult. Simply, it requires being curious about where you live, a willingness to share your curiosity with others - and a sense of indignation when things do not seem right and fair and a willingness to take action. You need to discover the lines of communication that exist in all communities - both formal and informal - in order to convey your message effectively and have an influence.
My work on the Hedon Blog today consisted of a short shopping trip with camera in hand. In 45 minutes I'd acquired a lot of raw information about my community and material to develop for articles on the blog. The image shows this raw material: Clockwise (left to right):
- Activities planned for Hedon Methodist Church which can furnish an entry for the 'What's On' page.
- Landscape work by the local council which involved pruning down some 'popular' trees.
- Notice of a Police and Communities Forum in the Town Hall.
- Yorkshire Electricity works on underground cables - what's happening here?
- Yorkshire Water worksite left flooded and unattended - again what's happening?
- Possible closure of local convenience shop? Victim of the recession?
I'm not sure that a journalist drafted in would be able to see the same potential from my short stroll that I can!?