Mar 182011

DemonFM at the Creative Garden

Next week, on Friday 25th March, DemonFM is going to be broadcasting from the Creative Garden event held at Phoenix Square and organised by FD2D magazine.
“The ‘Creative Garden’ is a networking event and business exhibition which will bring together local creatives and businesses, spanning from students and graduates to established companies and freelancers. The Creative Garden will not only encourage conversations between creatives and businesses, it will also provide an opportunity for the two to connect and build working relationships.”
There is a real buzz based around the event, with a strong sense that Leicester is coming together to celebrate it’s creative media, performance and arts. I’m hoping to encourage my students to attend, so they can start to build a picture of how they might develop their own businesses once they have graduated. I’m also very keen to have a chat with John Coster, who runs Citizen’s Eye, the Community News portal that is making a bigger and bigger impression on the Leicester community media scene. At DemonFM we have a pressing need to develop a news team that can source, manage and promote stories locally from Leicester. Stories that have a fresh perspective because they are developed and investigated from the point of view of ordinary citizens, rather than as part of a professional machine that churns out stories automatically and from a centralised PR department. I’m keen to learn from John how DemonFM can build it’s broadcast and webcast news capability. What do we need to put in place to manage the people who can write and produce the stories that will be aired on DemonFM? What do we need to do to make sure that these stories are interesting to the local audience? What should we do to manage the stories so that we don’t make mistakes and end up in court? What do we need to do to ensure that our voice is respected, trusted and understood by the people who listen to DemonFM? Two things are helping me to drive this forward. Internally at DMU I’ve had some great conversations with colleagues in the Faculty of Humanities who are keen to develop a broadcast news approach to some of their undergraduate journalism modules, and to refresh them so that they take into account the changed and changing nature of news production. I’ve been fascinated by the recent events in the Middle East and Japan by how much the major news networks are dependent on social networking sites to feed eye witness accounts into their reports, and to provide information and verification of stories when other routes have dried up or are tightly controlled. Citizen Journalism is a concept that is pushed about a lot, but it should form the heart of what we do with DemonFM and any community news organisation. The second pressure that we are feeling are the reports this week that the BBC may pull-out of of local radio. These rather alarming reports would lead to the decimation of local radio provision, exactly at the point when commercial radio has all but abandoned local radio. If BBC local radio follows the same route as the commercial networks, then we will be looking at five or six hours of truly local broadcasting only. Who will pick up the slack, and who will provide a local news service in it’s place? The internet is one place where it might happen, but trusted local news providers, based in the community sector, will be the other place. So I see a lot of potential in developing DemonFM as a hub within the community news sector. We wont provide all of the answers, and cover every news event possible, but we will be able to offer a service that people will value and trust, if we get our act together and get organised early on.

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