Archive for the 'Posts & Updates' Category

DIY-DMU Podcast 017 International Community Media Expo

Today’s podcast was recorded as part of the first DMU International Community Media Expo. Sitting around the table was Julian, Kiaran, Ulrika, Gerhart and myself. We chatted about the role and the importance of community media and what we need to learn to make our own media.

DIY-DMU Podcast 016 ART-AI Festival

This week’s DIY-DMU Podcast was recorded at the Highcross Centre in Leicester, where young people were learning about the ART-AI Festival, and how Artificial Intelligence can be used creatively and artistically. John Coster and I chatted with Proffessor Tracy Harwood, from De Montfort University’s Institute of Creative Technology, and with some of her colleagues who are supporting the festival. We also had a chance to talk with some of the students and their teacher about how creative AI applications are able to help us learn and understand the world and technology in different ways.

Democratic Media Institutions

BBC Media Action is the charitable arm of the BBC that seeks to support communication development in developing nations around the world. James Deane is the Director of Policy and Research, and in his latest blog he asks if we need to rethink how we build media organsations and institutions that support democratic accountability around the world. Deane suggests that:

Access to information that people can trust, find relevant, that underpins informed democratic debate, and can hold power to account, will depend on the existence of media institutions, not just information networks. That remains the major challenge of media support. It is a challenge that we need fresh thinking to achieve.

I agree with Deane that this isn’t just about rolling-out large media corporations, or throwing open the communication floodgates to the market, and that we do need to undertake some careful thinking about what we build and put in place for the future. As Deane argues:

Media freedom and media sustainability indicators focus on whether media is free and sustainable and less on on whether they are valued, trusted or relevant to the populations of their societies, especially those outside an educated middle class. This is especially important at a time of digital and demographic transformation.

The challenge, from my perspective, is how do we harness the independent and distrubuted technologies in which we aggregate news and media content, in which ‘brands’ are no longer as importnat, but the need for trusted informants, guides and advocates is?

Trusting Community Reporting?

John Naughton writing in The Guardian makes a very powerful point about the need for trusted sources of information in developing communities. With the use of Facebook as a tool for promoting fake news, which has led to violence in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Naughton suggests that:

We have woken up to Facebook’s pernicious role in western democratic politics and are beginning to think about ways of addressing that problem in our bailiwicks. To date, the ideas about regulation that have surfaced seem ineffectual and so the damage continues. But at least liberal democracies have some degree of immunity to the untruths disseminated by bad actors who exploit Facebook’s automated targeting systems – provided by a free press, parliamentary inquiries, independent judiciaries, public-service broadcasters, universities, professional bodies and so on.

However, as Naughton goes on to point out:

Other societies, particularly the developing countries now most assiduously targeted by Facebook, have few such institutions and it is there that the company has the capacity to wreak the most havoc.

The importance of trust in our civic and community media is crucial to promoting peace and reconciliation, but do we have the right tools to do this as independent media producers and communities? Large media organisations spend a lot of time promoting their ‘brand’ identity so that it can be trusted and relied upon, but this appraoch isn’t available to small, independent, volunteer-led community media groups.

Is there a way, then, perhaps with something like the Mozilla Open Badges project, which independently verified people’s learning, to independently verify the output of reporters across different media platforms, networks and communities?

Trust is the currency that holds society togehter, and when trust dies, our social order suffers. How can we build a new infrastructure that enables trust to be implicity validated in our media use, and what would the criteria be that would demonstrate that a reporter or a media producer is a trusted source? If Uber and Tripadvisor can do this, why can’t news organisations and social media corporations put some funding and development time into producing trust tokens for community reporters?

DIY-DMU Podcast 014

Tonight’s podcast brought myself and John Coster together with Ben, Gerhard and Dominika for a chat about inter-cultural experiences, learning, video blogging, and some other random stuff – mainly me getting on my soapbox and having a rant about the French!

DIY-DMU Podcast 013 Cambodia #dmuglobal

For the last week or so, John and myself have been in Cambodia doing some teaching and research work with the American University of Phnom Penh. We met some fantastic students and experienced Cambodian life and culture. It was my first time in Cambodia and it was completely different to how I expected it. We chat in this edition of the DIY-DMU podcast about scratching the surface, not making any assumptions and honoring the proud traditions of Khemer life, both in the city and at Angkor Wat.

Technology Addiction is a Real Problem

As more evidence is emerging that our use of technology has negative effects on our mental well being, we might have to start thinking about how we can address some of the patterns of behavior and expectations about the way that we use social media and tech devices. Belinda Parmar, who was once a tech-advocate is now warning about the dangers of an unquestioned use of tech devices, especially as they have a negative impact on the developing minds of children.

Writing in The Guardian, Moya Sarner explains how for Palmer:

“Tech was a leveller,” she says. “You didn’t need money, you didn’t need status; it was an enabler of a more equal and more diverse society. This tiny bubble that most of us lived in had been popped and that was wonderful. That still is wonderful.” But certain aspects of her relationship with technology were not so wonderful. “I’d wake up and look at Twitter,” she says. “I had two small children, and the first thing I should have been doing was going to see the kids, but I’d be looking at Twitter.” She realised she was using social media for validation, to feed her ego. She began to think: “If technology is an enabler, why am I just using it for things I don’t like about myself?”

This is a detailed and evidence-based article that has a lot of strong ideas about our use of technology, and I’m sure it will provide plenty of points of discussion as we begin to question the role of technology in our lives more carefully.

Social Media Influencers and Advertising

It’s often thought that anything goes when it comes to social media, and that we are free to do and say pretty much whatever we want because there is no control. Obviously, this is an unfounded assumption. When we post material online we are subject to the same laws and standards as any other form of publishing – liable and advertising standards being just two. Ben Chapman writing in The Independent describes how the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recognises that:

Lines are now blurred between advertising and editorial content, leading to uncertainty for consumers and for influencers themselves, who may not know what is and is not allowed.

And that

Under industry rules, ads must be obviously recognisable as such so that people know when they’re being advertised to. The ASA said that when people are not sure what is advertising and what isn’t, trust in the whole sector is damaged.

So if you are planning on using your social media activities to generate some cash, do yourself a favour and check out the ASA rules first and stay on the right side of the law.

DIYDMU Podcast 012

Tonight’s podcast gave John Coster and myself some insight into the work of Ulike Kubatta, a documentary film maker who recently joined us at De Montfort University. Ulrike’s friend and DJ, Martina Giesa told us about her love of original R&B music, while J and Toc gave us some insight into the mind of millenials and their goals in life.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 023

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty third lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

DIY-DMU Podcast 011 #Hollywood

This evening’s podcast saw John Coster, Ben Archer, Rob Watson and Jim Russel get together for a discussion about Hollywood and the changing nature of the film industry, and how online media from Netflix and Amazon are changing the way we consume and access movies and documentaries.

Trevor Baylis, Inventor of the Wind-Up Radio, Dies aged 80

Community media isn’t just about programming, it’s also about the access that we have to different media. The death of Trevor Baylis is perhaps a moment when we can reflect on the contribution that his invention made to understanding, conflict resolution and disaster management around the world, allowing people to listen to radio when they have no access to reliable power sources. Far sighted and innovative people like Trevor are few and far between.

 

Will 2018 be the year of the Neo-Luddite?

According to Jamie Bartlett writing in The Guardian, in our rush to embrace all things technological, we are failing to account for the human costs and the consequences of the development of automation, artificial intelligence and everything being networked. Jamie asks if 2018 will be the year when of the Luddite comes to prominence again?

“The downsides of technology’s inexorable march are ​now becoming clear – and automation will only increase the anxiety. We should expect the ​growing interest in off-grid lifestyles to be accompanied by ​direct action and even anti-tech riots.”

I’m not such a pessimist, but with every move forward with technology there is both a positive and a negative impact. Having open forums in which we can share our concerns seems to me to be the initial response to our anxieties, and learning to express our anxieties without fear of being shamed for them, however unfounded they may seem to others, should be something we use socialised media to achieve. Talk and learn is probably the best response to these anxieties.

Mary Shelly taught us two hundred years about that we have to learn to adapt to changes in our culture brought about by science and technology, the question is how and in what way we respond – as a Luddite smashing things up, or as an optimist embracing change as a way of promoting diversity and inclusivity?

DIY-DMU Podcast 010 #Fairtrade

In today’s podcast John and I met up with Emma and Colin who are DMU’s Fairtrade champions, and we talked about the relevance and importance of ethical and accountable trading.

Community Media and a Stronger Sense of Community

There are two articles about community and community media that are worth reading from today’s Guardian. The first is a brief account by Anna Bawden of the role of community media in the UK, and the potential for a not-for-profit focus on the new Small Scale DAB proposals.

“Lucinda Guy, chair of the Community Media Association, says: “Not-for-profit media is appallingly underfunded”, despite doing “astoundingly important and brave work to heal divided communities, tackle extremism, and boost participants’ mental health. We know that the best foil to divisive rhetoric is to increase the power of moderate voices in those communities to be heard, and yet we see station managers around the country struggling to eat and pay the bills while doing this excellent and essential work to support their communities.” While the government is considering whether the new licences should reserve digital radio capacity for existing and new community stations, the CMA does not feel this goes far enough. Guy adds: “Unless SSDAB is in the ownership and control of communities, which can curate a range of stations that are interesting for local people, we fear that small-scale local radio will deliver profit, not social benefit.”

The second is a piece from George Monbiot, in which he describes how the scourge of loneliness that affects people’s health in many of our communities can be challenged with a greater focus on a sense of community.

“The evidence strongly suggests that social contact should be on prescription, as it is in Frome. But here, and in other countries, health services have been slow to act on such findings. In the UK we have a minister for loneliness, and social isolation is an official “health priority”. But the silo effect, budget cuts and an atmosphere of fear and retrenchment ensure that precious little has been done.”

I wonder when news organisation’s like the Guardian are going to join the dots and realise that community media and better social well-being are connected? I’m sure we can be providing them with a lot of evidence to demonstrate how community media works to improve communities health and well-being in practice.

Workplace Burnout – The Impact of Social Anxiety

We live in a culture of so-called achievement, in which our jobs and our life experiences are accounted for in terms of the impact that they have and the results that we get from what we do. This can be measured in terms of cash that we earn, research papers that we produce, or the number of students who pass our modules. The pressure is on for us to do more with less, to move up league tables and to raise the standard for what we do. The problem, however, is that more of us are suffering from social anxiety and burnout as a result.

This increasingly common problem is discussed in some detail in this article by Moya Sarner writing in The Guardian. It’s well worth reading:

Beyond the workplace, we live in an age when society itself seems to be burning out, with austerity, rising poverty and the uncertainty caused by Brexit pushing people to and beyond their limits. “Burnout could be seen as a condition of our times,” Andrew agrees, as cuts to services are making it harder and harder for people to cope: “Alongside cuts to social care, there are cuts to the voluntary sector, projects around domestic violence, for parents, for older people. Stopping a group for carers of people with dementia might seem like a tiny thing, but we have reached a critical point of extremely limited support, and if you’re in that situation, over a period of time, it makes complete sense that your body and mind would shut down. I see strong, capable, independent people who have reached a stage where there is no other option.”

There are certain factors that protect a workplace from burnout, says Vesey – a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, and a management style that finds “a balance between clarity and presence, but also offer people autonomy to allow them to get on with what they need to get on with”. Without these, a business and its employees are more vulnerable. Rock is realistic that businesses need to prioritise performance, but says: “It’s about thinking how you get the best performance out of your people. We should not move the way a charity operates into the financial sector – it would lose its competitive advantage very quickly – but there are things managers can do to support their staff, such as creating an environment where people can talk about what’s happening in the organisation, what’s happening for them.” What Cox suggests a boss should say is: “We recognise you’re having a tough time. What can we do to help you?”

I suppose the question is, what can we change about our own working practices that will help to avoid or minimise this sense of burnout? This is one of the reasons I actively minimise the use of email at work, because there is nothing more depressing than full email in tray. A face to face conversation, maybe over a cup of tea is so much more effective for building and sustaining relationships. It’s just a pity that the modern workplace strips away these opportunities for social contact and pushes less-human forms of communication on us.

It would be interesting to explore how we can turn the essential tasks that we have to do in our working lives back into something that is creative and empowering. Anyone got any ideas or example of how this is being done? Moya cites the Thriving at Work report, which might be a good checklist for assessing how we need to rethink work-based practices and how social media can contribute to well-being and not just leave us with techno-stress?

DIY-DMU Podcast 009 #SDGTeachIn

Another vibrant and absorbing podcast again this evening, with a range of views and opinions from Mike, J, Ben, Tina, John and myself. The theme tonight was the UN Sustainable Development Goals, that is being promoted by the National Union of Students across the UK, and what we might do to incorporate the sustainability objectives into our courses and learning opportunities.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 023

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 024

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 024

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 023

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

DIY-DMU Podcast 008 #WorldRadioDay

It was an entertaining and engrossing discussion tonight, when Laury, Aidan, Jagger and Ben joined John Coster and Rob Watson to talk about what we like about radio. This is our contribution to UNESCO World Radio Day.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 021

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

TECH1502-18 Lecture Summary 021

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media.

TECH2503-18 Lecture Summary 021

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH2503 Community Media Production.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 020

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twentieth lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 020

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twentieth lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 024

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 021

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 021

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

TECH1502-18 Lecture Summary 024

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media.

TECH1502-18 Lecture Summary 023

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media.

TECH1502-18 Lecture Summary 022

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media.

TECH2503-18 Lecture Summary 023

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH2503 Community Media Production.

TECH2503-18 Lecture Summary 024

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH2503 Community Media Production.