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Yesterday I attended a training day at the Cornerhouse run by Lets Go Global  and AND Festival as part of the #Media2012 project. The project aims to create a citizen media network to operate during the London Olympics next year. Each region will have a community led media hub made up of volunteers from the local area interested in citizen journalism, with the aim of affecting the way the Olympics are covered by core media outlets overall. Considering the London-centric nature of the Olympics in general, I think something like this is a really good way of letting the whole country experience the games and get their stories heard.

The day started off with a session on video blogging, interviewing and editing. For me, this was something I was extremely keen on learning more about – I’ve always been interested in documenting my life, mainly through photos, but video is a format I’ve never really dabbled in that much. I’ve always presumed it’d be fairly hard to create good content for videos and that it’d be even harder to edit. The workshop started off by showing us of a similar kind of project for the Vancouver Games last year and the huge amount of citizen journalism that was produced as a result of social housing issues surrounding the games. It was great to see the diversity of content produced from this, and the different styles of reporting that were used. I think the thing I got from today’s workshop was that actually, it’s pretty easy to create videos if you just have a go and don’t take it too seriously. Me and my housemate had a go at filming a few voxpops off my phone, trying different shots and angles. Here’s a few examples…

 

 

The next session was led by social media trainer Chi Chi of RealFresh TV. The session covered social media basics such as the difference between some of the networks, what the ‘social object’ of each platform was and how platforms such as blogs can directly impact on search rankings. Having used social media for a while and already started on building up an online presence, I found a lot of the information wasn’t new, however I think for beginners it was a great introduction to the area. Chi Chi mentioned that this course was the basic level, and that she also delivered Level 2 and 3 courses which were more specific and tailored to particular elements of social media – I’d been extremely keen to go on some of these as it was clear she was very knowledgeable in the area.

The final session was on blogging, again, because I’m already a frequent blogger, I didn’t really find this session that useful. I felt a lot of the content was just common sense and more of an English lesson if anything in terms of keeping sentences short, having an attention grabbing title etc. Despite this, I found the trainer to be extremely approachable and again clearly knowledgeable about the subject. I’d be interested to see more focussed sessions in the future dealing with particular areas of blogging such as copyright and infringement issues (touched on sightly in the session) and publicity/ self promotion for bloggers.

Overall I felt the day was a great way to bring like-minded people together and thought all of the sessions provided a great introduction into the different areas relevant to citizen journalism. It’s always a hard job to know what to cover in these kind of sessions when the audience have a very varied experience in the different areas – most of the people that attended didn’t seem to have that much experience of social media and blogging so found these sessions really useful. As I was completely new to video blogging then this was the session I got the most out of. I’m looking forward to attending more focussed sessions, pitched at a higher level in the future and increasing my skill set as the project continues to flourish.

If you want to learn more about the Media 2012 project or get involved, check out their website at: http://www.media2012.org.uk/

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