April 2024 Update

Be the Media, Know the Media, Change the Media.

April 2024 Update

Monthly update

Hello and welcome to Better Media’s April 2024 update. No fools here! Just me, Rowan Gavin, Better Media Campaign Co-ordinator. You can read the last update here.

Our work at Better Media is in four main areas, and as usual I’ll be breaking up this update to cover each of them:

  • Amplifying and participating in campaigns around media policy
  • Acting as a link between trade unions and the media reform movement
  • Supporting and promoting community media outlets
  • Collating and platforming resources relating to media reform

Amplifying policy campaigns

Ofcom are currently running a consultation on their future approach to handling the Key Commitments that licensed community radio stations are required to abide by. We believe that this is a very important issue for those of us who wish to see the social value of community radio services maintained.

To prepare to respond to the consultation we are partnering with Decentered Media to run a series of online workshops, gathering the views of civil society organisations and radio listeners. The first two sessions have already taken place, and there are further sessions on Thursday 2nd May and Thursday 9th May. You can find more details of the events and sign up to join in over on Decentered Media’s website.

We will be carrying forward the outputs of these conversations into our written response to the consultation, which closes in June. If you work in any area related to community cohesion, local democracy, media reform or any other area that community radio could impact, please do come along to one of the sessions and contribute your thoughts!

Elsewhere, with the Media Bill moving into Committee Stage in the Lords, the Public Service Media Forum is continuing to work behind the scenes on lobbying to add amendments which maintain the obligation of public service media to cover a diverse range of genres, increase the discoverability of public service media on new platforms, strengthen impartiality regulation and protect the large audiences who still use analogue broadcast services such as AM and FM. As a member of the forum, we continue to bring our perspective as a trade union funded and member democratic campaign group to this work.

Linking with trade unions

This week I met with the Campaigns department of the National Union of Journalists to discuss the motion that was passed at an NUJ delegate meeting proposing that they work with us and with our friends at CPBF North. We discussed areas where our work overlaps, and set up a regular meeting to continue exploring areas to work together in future. It’s great to have some direct contact with the NUJ in place, and I look forward to working more with the country’s largest media workers’ union.

Both Better Media and the NUJ were also recently invited to an away day with a selection of media infrastructure organisations, being hosted by the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) and Impress in the summer. I’m always really excited to see the media reform sector come together at events like this one, so I’ll definitely be going along and looking forward to learning a lot from our peers.

Supporting community media

In between my other duties, I am continuing to work on our project to create a Guide for Local Community Media Co-ops. This month I had a really productive meeting with Dave Boyle of the Community Shares Company, which helped me a lot with framing some sections of the guide. The first draft is now well underway.

I was also contacted this month by a Better Media member who has an interest in starting up their own local community media project in their area, and was able to provide some advice based on my research for the Guide project. It’s encouraging to be able to use the knowledge gathered in projects like this to support others’ efforts, even though the project itself has been slow going.

Platforming media reform resources

In the past month, PINF launched a new resource within its network of independent news providers: the Indie News Skillshare Toolkit. The kit contains a treasure trove of archive material from discussions within the network, bringing together the collective experience of around 100 independent news providers to find solutions around issues including reporting on local democracy, weighing up the pros and cons of publishing online vs in print, and generating funding from a variety of sources.

The Toolkit is only available to members of the network, but with its launch I wanted to encourage any readers who work at independent news outlets to consider joining. You can find more details on the PINF website.

That’s all for this month! I’ll be back in May with another update. As always you can contact me on contact@bettermedia.uk – my working hours are Thursdays, 8.45-4.30.

Rowan Gavin
Better Media Campaign Co-ordinator


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