Policy Blind Spot - Community Media

CarnegieUK have published a report that summarises some of the issues that are concerning people as a result of the pandemic. It’s not bad in terms of its general scope and call for a renewal of local civic engagement. However, it has two issues that stand out on my first read.

First, it uses the dreaded ‘hyperlocal’ word. I’m getting increasingly concerned about the way this word is used by academics and policy researchers. I’ve never met anyone who lives in a hyperlocal world, or who uses hyperlocal services. We live in neighbourhoods. Do we need to persuade these organisations to start using plain and accessible English?

Second, the report has no mention of community media. Is this further conformation of the absence of community media from the policy development and engagement process? The values of civic engagement and local self-determination that are identified in the report are relevant, but we have to ask the question, why are these principles not being applied to our media policy thinking and practice?

These reports inform the planning for project funding that CarnegieUK and others use, it’s essential that we engage with these organisations to start to think about media reform in participative, inclusive and democratic ways. If they can do this with ideas about reform of public services, then they can do it as it applies to how communities communicate.

Any suggestions about how we might approach this - persuasion or challenge?