Editor's note: This article is a transcription of John Downey's opening keynote address to the OURMedia 6 conference 2007 delivered in Sydney.
This article offers a case study of citizen journalism in the network society. Manuel Castells’ (2007) discussion of ‘mass self-communication’ informs its examination of the spontaneous actions of ordinary people compelled to adopt the role of a journalist in order to bear witness to what was happening during the London bombings of July 2005. Identified and critiqued are a number of the ways in which the social phenomenon of citizen journalism registered its public significance. Specifically singled out for analysis is how the eyewitness reporting of ordinary Londoners caught up in the explosions, recast the conventions of the mainstream news coverage. This process was made possible via their use of digital technologies to bring to bear alternative information, perspectives and ideological critique in a time of national crisis.
The community radio sector in Australia has been experiencing rapid growth as a result of the increase in the number of licensed radio stations. However, Australian government funding has not proportionally increased, thus threatening the financial viability of many community radio stations. A key issue to be addressed is the need to find ways to enhance community radio’s sources of funding without imperilling its status as a not-for-profit sector. Philanthropy is therefore an option that community radio stations could cultivate and develop. Philanthropy and community radio have a lot in common, as they are both connected in their mission. Philanthropy involves active community capital building and community radio is dedicated to offering media services to the community. Common objectives can lay a solid foundation for a pro-active financial relationship. This paper looks into the nature of philanthropy and explores the opportunity of it acting as a potential source of income for community media in Australia.
The power and the passion: a study of Australian community broadcasting audiences 2004-2007
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This paper reports on the first qualitative audience study of the Australian community broadcasting sector and concludes that the processes identified disturb the established power base of mainstream media. The efforts of community media producers and their audiences interrupt ‘common sense’ mainstream media representations by offering ‘good sense’ –alternatives which reveal the diversity of Australian culture at the local level. This is empowering for participating audiences who are either not represented or misrepresented in the mainstream media. The dissemination of different ideas and assumptions about the world and our place in it affirms a place for millions of Australians by validating their ‘whole way of life’.
Why is there virtually no drama on Australian community television? Within this sector of the Australian media, the potential of fictional screen narratives to powerfully and imaginatively explore human experience in relation to issues of cultural diversity, social equity and community change has been unrealized. Are the demands in time, money and effort of this form of production too great for predominantly non-professional and un-funded program creators and producers? In the digital era, the blurred media space between the professional and the amateur has been expanding and changing. In relation to film and television, this increasingly significant space is occupied by community television and a range of independent producers with alternative creative and cultural perspectives. This paper discusses the research I have been undertaking into the practical and creative possibilities and constraints of “no-budget” television drama production and the impact a lack of money has on the creative outcomes of a project. Drawing on the work of writers such as Bourdieu and Bakhtin, as well as filmmakers such as Alexander Kluge, my practice-based research has been investigating the production process for a no-budget television program, which has a particular focus on issues of social change and formal innovation.
The motivation to write about Community Cultural Development work and present this as a paper at Nuestros Medios/Our Media Conference, comes from reflecting about participation in two very different projects involving two different community groups. In both projects new technology, video and photography were used to assist the groups explore their issues of concern.