The stakeholder-academe workshop for the AHRC-funded Research Network on ‘Innovation in PSM Policies’ (Grant Ref: AH/S012311) brought together key PSM stakeholders and leading international scholars to the University of Westminster, London, on 12 November 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to explore uncharted territories in PSM research, with the aim to map the complexities of today’s digital ecosystem from the perspective of public service.
The goal for this workshop was to highlight future-forward research and consider how collaborative approaches might contribute to advancing such a research agenda.
The morning session begun with the presentations by Hannu Nieminen (University of Helsinki) on Communication Rights: What rights, Whose Rights, and Why PSM Matters? and Jeanette Steemers (King’s College) on Policy and Production Encounters Around Children’s Public Service ‘Television’ and Diversity. Nieminen’s presentation focused on the need to reconsider the entire structures of communication and information systems and consider public service media with other institutions that support the epistemic commons, the creation for common knowledge for citizenship. Steemers’ talk depicted the methods, process and outcomes of groundbreaking research focused on diversity and in children’s programming in the Arab countries and around Europe. Both presentations feed directly into the second workshop (February 2020, Helsinki) that will focus on young people, citizenship and co-creation.
Catherine Johnson (University of Huddersfield) with her presentation Online TV, Discoverability and Television as (Public?) Service and Kaarina Nikunen (Tampere University) talking about Public Service Media in Search of Fair Data discussed their research on the fundamental challenges, and opportunities, to public service in the era of platformization.
Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster) Towards a Public Service Internet: Envisioning Real Utopias for Public Service Media and Victor Pickard (University of Pennsylvania) A Public Media Alternative to the Failing Commercial Press both addressed the need, and possibilities, for envisioning new kinds of public media models. Picard brought up the importance, and potential, for local and community media. Fuchs stressed for the need for “real utopias”, discussed several projects with ORF, the Austrian public service broadcasters, and also set the stage for the fourth workshop (May 18-19 2020, London) on envisioning those futures.
If interested in contributing to the ideas and ideals discussed in the fourth workshop, please answer the PSM Utopia Survey, here.
Naomi Sakr (University of Westminster) with the presentation Alternative Online Media under Authoritarianism: Contributions to a PSM Imaginary and Marius Dragomir (Central European University) with his talk How Media Capture Devalues Public Service Media highlighted contexts outside of mature PSM countries that offer opportunities but also mark challenges for public service media. Unfortunately, some forms of what can be called media capture are not foreign to traditional public service broadcasting contexts.
The last sessions of the morning by Lizzie Jackson (London South Bank University) on Multi-stakeholder Engagement for Progressive, Audience-informed, Platform Production and by Tim Raats (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) Partnerships and PSM: The Long and Winding Road… featured reasons and lessons for successful practices for collaborations in the programme-making level as well as in terms of broader strategies. Raats’ presentation was based on his recent report for the EBU: Moving Fast or Moving Forward? The Shift from a Partnership Agenda to Collaboration and the True Fabric of Public Service Media, downloadable freely from here (login required). Jackson highlighted the upcoming RIPE@2020 conference, one of the main events for scholar-practitioner collaborations, taking place in October 28-30 2020 in Geneva.
More about the RIPE@2020 – Public Service Media’s Contribution to Society and the Call for Papers, here.
The afternoon session featured key stakeholders and cutting-edge projects working on public media. The session was opened by Jaspal Samra (Ofcom) who outlined the qualitative and quantitative research on public service media by Ofcom. Samra noted that scholarly analysis would especially benefit thing about what public service media could and should do. Andrew Scadding (BBC) illustrated the challenges of the digital media ecosystem for the BBC but also highlighted remarkable success stories – strategies and cases such as BBC Scotland. Sally-Ann Wilson and Kristian Porter from the Public Media Alliance (PMA) gave a passionate and inspiring presentation on why Public Media Matters: A Global Overview and called for closer collaborations between public media organizations and scholars, as well as wider networks.
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Barbara Thomass, from Ruhr-University in Bochum represented here the European Public Open Spaces (EPOS). It is a project for conceptualizing public open spaces in the digital networked public sphere – spaces in the public interest, free of state and market influence and with a European scope. Stuart Allan and Cynthia Carter (Cardiff University) representing the Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) for the Creative Industries shared their research work, especially on PSB and value proposition, with the emphasis on young people under 30. Adam Gee, with his presentation Race Memory in UK PS Media, brought forth recent-past PSM policy implementations and experiments that are some key cases for the network to learn from, including the initiatives: Culture Online by Jonathan Drori, Jam by Liz Cleaver, PSP by Ed Richards, 4IP by Tom Loosemore, Creative Archive Licence Group by Paul Gerhardt and Kangaroo by Ashley Highfield.
Matt Lock, the founder of the Public Media Stack Project, explained the purpose, process and the future plans to co-create a sustainable ecosystem of ethical, independent, technologies to support public media projects without exploiting the data, content or relationships that are critical to successful public media.
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The workshop was followed by the sold-out event, organized by the Policy Observatory of the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI): The Future of Public Service Broadcasting: Threats and Opportunities.
A report of the workshop will be published mid December.