• May 2008
    M T W T F S S

Latest Ofcom Media Literacy Audits

Ofcom today published its second audit of adult and children’s Media Literacy in the UK.

The Media Literacy Audits are part of a wide programme of Ofcom research into Media Literacy in the UK. They provide a base of evidence to develop new policies and initiatives to help citizens and consumers access and use digital media services and technologies.

The full news release can be found here:

The Adults’ Media Literacy audit can be found here:

The Children’s Media Literacy audit can be found here:

Sir Ken Robinson – Do schools today kill creativity?

Street-Level Youth Media – Chicago

Interesting videos on a community media organisation from Chicago.

What is Street-Level Youth Media?


CMW INTERVIEW – PART THREE (couldn’t find part 2)

TV Digital Switchover – DCMS Response

Yesterday morning I received a reply from my local MP regarding a campaign to get MP’s to sign the early day motion on ring-fencing a channel on Freeview for local/community programming, anticipating the digital switch over.

With her response she enclosed a letter from the DCMS regarding my request. I don’t know if the DCMS letter is a standard one that they send out to everyone. It’s one and a half sides of A4, but the last paragraph sums it up totally.

“In their report on Public Service Content, published on 15 November, the Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee said that while they see some value in local content, they are not convinced of the need to intervene to support local TV, particularly by giving away spectrum for broadcasting on digital terrestrial television. I hope this information is useful to you. Best Wishes, Andy Burnham”

I found it perversely reassuring to see the battle lines so clearly laid out in black & white.   Thanks a bunch Andy for making that so clear.

Basically what the DCMS are saying is that a community tv station will have to bid for a channel alongside other commercial bidders such as shopping channels and music stations.  When the digital switchover happens local programming will pretty much disappear, except maybe for news.  BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 are already saying that come the switch over they will be an unfair disadvantage as none of the other digital channel have to have a public service remit.  ITV are already backing away from confirming they will continue their public service agenda.  Without the DCMS and Ofcom supporting community and local programming by ringfencing a channel on Freeview, the fight for community television broadcasting will be over.  Costs to run a digital channel are hugely expensive and competing against commercial stations will be near impossible.  The Community Channel would be the obvious answer, but unfortunately that channel is a huge missed opportunity and nothing but an advert channel for charities. 

The DCMS and Ofcom are saying that the future of local and community programming lies in broadband, which is unfortunately missing the point as for much of the target audience for local community programming, (i.e. the elderly, those disenfranchised, etc), many will be on the wrong side of the digital divide, and won’t have computers let alone broadband access at home.

If you are passionate about the future of local and community television then visit the campaign at the Community Media Association (CMA) and ask you local MP to sign the early days motion.  Full text for communication to your MP can be found at the site.



IPPR report – Behind the Screen: The hidden life of youth online

Last July a group of us met with Kay Withers from the IPPR (Institutefor Public Policy Research) at Watershed, Bristol to feed into a reportshe was writing. We discussed how young people use digital media and thefunding that is available for community media organisations working withyoung people.

The report has now been published – it’s called “Behind the Screen: The hidden life of youth online”.

Here’s a link to it:

(You don’t have to register to download the report.)

We are mentioned on page 56.


It is great this report has been published. It says a lot of important things about our area of work and will be a useful reference. One point I feel it missed though is its assessment of the ‘youth led’ agenda. Encouragingly the report acknowledged that there’s a flaw in such funding schemes as they don’t accurately reflect the need for young people’s groups to have adult input for expertise and support.

What the report stopped short of saying however, was that such funding schemes are actually (knowingly or unknowingly) designed to undermine the same support and infrastructure that nurtured the groups of confident self-determinant young people in the first place. Akin to telling school students that if they pass their GCSEs, that they will be given funds to set up their own sixth form colleges – without any input from the schools they came from, or of any acknowledgment of the roles the schools played.

I think it’s good that funding sources are putting the wants of the young people before the notional whims of the adults, that absolutely fine, but for the projects to be robust, ‘honest’ and longlasting, funders shouldn’t just dangle money with principled caveats, but rather work harder to actually build relationships between organisations and young people, in the equally principled desire to build sustainability for the young people and the people who try to support them.

Obviously all my own humble opinion of course. Feel free to disagree! LOL