Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

digital town squares « Previous | |Next »
June 2, 2009

The mainstream media in Australia are less known for their innovation and entrepreneurship and more for their dogged protection of the status quo. The quality of the content of the newspapers is declining, the free-to-air television stations are low on good content and they are only tentatively making the shift to digital television; digital radio is barely out of the blocks, whilst the regional press is about cost-cutting their existing businesses, putting profit before journalism and squeezing every cent they can from their markets.

The regional press is particularly bad. As Mark Day observes in The Australian the websites of the regional press (eg., APN News & Media and the Fairfax/Rural Press group) are:

weak extensions of their newspapers -- flimsy on news and largely devoid of any local inspiration that could be described as coming close to the ABC's video/citizen journalism plans. If the regional operators have run the numbers on what it would take to build viable and profitable sites in key regional markets, they've backed away from serious investment because they haven't been able to make a commercial case for it.

Given this unwillingness to develop a digital media presences the ABC's idea of town squares in regional areas is innovative and very attractive. The ABC plans to hire "specialist video content makers" in each of its local radio stations across 50 communities in Australia. ABC managing director Mark Scott fleshed out the idea of a web hub to a Senate's estimate committee by saying that local video content makers:
will be filming, editing and uploading original local content for that market, for that community, so content from that region and for that region will be distributed through our ABC local website.This allows the community to create its own content, to develop its own stories and to share those with the broader community. We will be establishing community websites and genre portals which allow Australians with common interests to talk with each other and to share experiences.This is the creation of a virtual town square, a place where Australians can come together to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to speak and to be heard.

The development of the hubs is made possible by the rollout of the proposed $43 billion high-speed National Broadband Network, as this means that people in regional areas would be able to access video.

Though it will take a while for a critical mass of video content makers or citizen journalists to emerge from the ABC's incubator, it does open up a platform for regional communities to explore issues such as the decline of the River Murray. In the Fleurieu Peninsula the issues associated with the River Murray--eg., proposals to address the drying out of the lower lakes, and the slow death of the Coorong--- have a limited media presence. The Victor Harbor Times has no opinion or commentary.

So the ABC's Townhall idea provides a digital platform for local content producers. We can develop our own stories about the issues that are important to us

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:16 AM | | Comments (2)


The ABC"s regional online townhall hubs will be more significant in media than The Punch as it is about developing new skills and different voices. The Punch is a national online magazine using existing journalists from the mainstream media.

yeah the ABC's townhall idea upskills people, creates media jobs and helps bring the regions --eg., Fleurieu Peninsula into SA --into the knowledge economy. So more and more people will want to write stores, interview people, take photographs, shoot video, use photoshop. So the community centres can become knowledge centres by putting on courses in the digital media.