Workshop 1: Report

PSM in the Digital Ecosystem: State of the Art and Research Priorities

The first workshop of the AHRC Research Network ‘InnoPSM’ (London, 12 November 2019) addressed the role of public service media (PSM) and the challenges they face in the current digital ecosystem. The workshop focussed on mapping models and highlighting cases of collaboration.

Presentations and participation by a total of 26 representatives of PSM stakeholders and academics resulted in several insights on current best practices, key policy issues, and pressing research questions:

  • Best practices: Collaborations are becoming an essential feature of PSM but they require well-articulated and internalised common goals as well as a clear vision of how the collaboration assists the role and responsibilities of PSM, and tangible ways to assess the value of joint activities. There exist several interesting examples of scholar-practitioner collaborations that focus on normative, visionary goals, as well as more practice-oriented knowledge needs. 
  • Policy issues identified included old dilemmas as well as new, ever-more complex questions arising in the context of today’s digital environment: (1) Vulnerability to media capture; (2) Funding (itself a mechanism through which governments can exert political pressure); (3) Infrastructural/distribution issues in the context of the platformisation of media content provision; (4) PSM and use of personal data in today’s algorithmic-driven environment; (5) PSM and audience reach/engagement, especially in relation to young people; (6) the need for new kinds of public spheres, spaces, arenas, or commons; and (7) new ways to frame PSM-related public policies.
  • Pressing research questions included: (1) questions of a normative  nature (rethinking not only what public media are, their roles and values, but also what we mean by public service); (2) empirical questions (notably, questions addressing the need to gain a better understanding of the socio-cultural context in which media consumption takes place); and (3) ‘design/evaluative’ questions aiming to envisioning alternative public communications systems.

The workshop will serve as a guide for a more extensive mapping exercise/literature review to be published in Spring 2020.

Please see the full report, here.

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