Monday, December 11, 2006

The rise of community journalism

[Keyword: , , , ]. The British Journalism Review includes a relatively brief piece by Stephen Kingston on 'community journalism' (a term I would include some citizen journalism under) and the reasons for its rising popularity:
"Welcome to Salford, the epicentre of some of Europe’s biggest regeneration projects – and home of the free, independent Salford Star magazine, which, among other things, aims to ensure that Salfordians living in some of the most deprived areas in Europe get a fair deal. So far, Salfordians aren’t happy with their deal. The Star’s summer issue revealed how more than £15 million of regeneration money is being pumped into the awardwinning Urban Splash “upside-down terraced house” development – bedrooms on the ground floor, living accommodation upstairs – in Salford’s Chimney Pot Park area, for a return to the community of not one single affordable home in its first phase. That’s a scandal. And there’s more. Lots more.

"This particular story was sitting up and begging to be written. The reason why it never broke – despite God knows how many well-paid writers working for the nationals down the road in Manchester – is the reason community journalism is on the rise. The “proper” journalists, who are supposed to be the guardians of democracy, accountability and stuff like that, are swallowing the hype and either can’t be arsed or haven’t got the time to investigate it. They’ve got no personal stake in the place. Instead, Urban Splash riding into a “crap place” – U.S. chairman, Tom Bloxham’s words – and saving the day by making the neighbourhood funky makes a good, quick, cheap feature, alongside all those Harvey Nicks-type ads."


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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

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