InnoPSM Workshop 2: PSM and Young People took place in Helsinki on 20-21 February. It was the second of a series of workshops organised as part of the ‘Innovation in PSM Policies’ project.
The workshop report and the related video will be open-access and shared here early Spring 2020.
InnoPSM is an AHRC-funded Research Network convened by Alessandro D’Arma (CAMRI, University of Westminster) in collaboration with Minna Horowitz (University of Helsinki). The workshop was designed and hosted by Ritva Leino from YLE (Finnish public broadcasting company) and Hannu Nieminen from the University of Helsinki, both members of the InnoPSM Steering Group.
The workshop focussed on arguably the biggest challenge of all facing PSM organisations around the world, namely a generation of young audiences increasingly using social media platforms as their ‘daily media’ and turning away from PSM services. The question asked in the workshop was: How can PSM understand, connect and serve young Millennials and Generation Z whose life experiences, hopes and fears, and the mediated environment are so drastically different from the previous generations?
The workshop brought together key PSM programme-makers and innovators, other PSM stakeholders and leading social researchers and media scholars whose work has focused on youth and media use.
After welcome and opening speeches by Ritva Leino and Hannu Nieminen, Day 1 (‘What we need to know’) began with a keynote speech by Ismo Silvo, Media Director at YLE. In his talk, Silvo argued that the key role of PSB is to integrate individuals into society and in this way creating a public space. He then went on to discuss YLE’s performance and its strategy, focussing on ‘super-serving’ the under 45s, particularly in drama/factual. Some big questions were put on the table: How can a public sphere be created in purely streaming/social media world? Should PSM content be delivered by all means and platforms or should PSM remain a media platform on its own right? And how much viewing/reach is enough for PSM to constitute a public sphere? Silvo’s talk was followed by a series of ‘informal briefings’ by Jaakko Lempinen (YLE) Helen Jay (Channel 4), Madiana Asseraf-Jacob (EBU), Jaspal Samra, (Ofcom) as well as academics Jeanette Steemers, (King’s College), Vilde Schanke Sundet (University of Oslo), Anne-Sofie Vanhaeght (VUB) and Vilma Luoma-aho (University of Jyväskylä). This was followed by a lively discussion in which participants shared their thoughts and views on a number of issues, including limitations with current metrics (time spent and reach) and whether there are alternative measures of ‘success’ and impact; content innovation (e.g., short-form), the meaning of ‘co-creation’ and how young people should be involved in PSM content creation; and the ways in which PSM should engage with commercial social media platforms in their quest to connect with young people.
Having set the scene and dissected some of the key issues in the first day, Day 2 (What Can We Do?) showcased innovative examples of content for young people originating from YLE – Sekasin/Mental presented by Markku Mastomäki and Dragonslayer666, presented by Riikka Takila – as well as 17 of NRK (Norway), presented by Melike Leblebicioglu. The concept of the award-winning news project by young people for young people, RARE, was introduced by Orna Ben Lulu and Vilma Rimpelä.
This was followed by a workshop in which participants were divided in 3 teams and invited to discuss, based on the case studies (and beyond): ‘How can we understand, support, and empower young citizens with the media, in the media?’
One of the key takeaways of the workshop was the need of in-depth dives into the cultures of those young people whose realities are depicted in PSM content and served by PSM services. The case studies included different methods, ranging from researching and ‘co-living’ everyday lives of young people to involving them as consultants. The cases also highlighted that multi-platform strategies are a necessity, not an option. By addressing relevant topics and including authentic voices, PSM can attract groups that have not had a relationship with them previously – not only engaging them with public service content through specific youth-preferred platforms but also bringing them to PSM-owned ones.
Ritva Leino, Head of Multiplatform and co-founder of Yle Lab, and the co-organizer of the workshop, highlights the strive for taking young people seriously:
Young people are central to Yle’s strategy for the future. We can create meaningful content for young audiences but we need to start with their realities, their voices. We have to understand what their media needs are. We also need to invest significantly in content and services that serve them best: as users, as citizens, as audiences equally worthy as other age groups. One of the hands-on workshop teams put it brilliantly: “Challenge the system. Build meaningful dialogues with young people.” But also: young people should “expect more from PSM”.
Hannu Nieminen, Director at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities HSSH, brings up the fundamental link between democracy and PSM serving young people:
As a steering group member of InnoPSM, I view the issue of PSM supporting democratic societies to be at the heart of the project. The possibilities of young people to experience and realize their identities as citizens, and related opportunities that PSM can offer, were discussed in a refreshingly varied and inspiring ways in this workshop. They ranged from the insightful account by Ismo Silvo of Yle’s societal role and strategic investment in young people, to concrete case studies of successful content concepts by programme makers. It was a rewarding experience to conceptualize and realize this workshop with Ritva Leino of Yle and wonderful to witness excellent presentations, comments, and teamwork