Printervention and participatory citizen news practices: a co-creation hyperlocal project

September 28th, 2013 by Jerome Turner in Hyperlocal | no comments

Printing pressOver in the hyperlocal strand of Creative Citizens , we have started work on a co-creation project with our two case studies ConnectCannock.co.uk and TyburnMail.com. Tyburn Mail’s output does already largely consist of a local newspaper. Connect Cannock is entirely web and social media based. In both cases we wanted to explore participatory potential of the local communities, whether as story sources, news gatherers, or content creators. We decided to use print to achieve this.

Why print?

Well, in Tyburn, it’s the most recognised and routine part of their output, going through letterboxes on a monthly basis. It has a place as a news source in the area. There is some participation from the community, but it tends to come through official or third parties, often in the form of press releases. There is little adhoc participatory contact from individual citizens. We wanted to see if we could find a way to connect the dots there.

Cannock does have some local press, but much less than it used to, and this was recognised in the workshop we ran there with Cannock citizens. They were able to identify that local news media was receding. The problem with Connect Cannock is visibility of their online content, as opposed to Tyburn Mail, which is very visible in their area. So in this case, we wanted to see if producing a newspaper could draw people to ConnectCannock as a news source, as well as also inviting / inciting participation.

The projectsaims to explore and exercise a number of approaches to working with citizens in hyperlocal practice, without necessarily expecting to be transformative, but experimental. In short, we should be able to report what worked, what didn’t, and why.

We also solicited the aid of John Coster of the community media organisation Citizens Eye, as someone with experience in self-published newspapers and engaging communities in news practices.

Progress to date 

We’re currently in the early planning stages of the project, which will be running to the late autumn.

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