The Weymouth Media Camp – being part of the Olympics
It’s over two weeks since the Bristol citizen journalism crew left Weymouth but their blog is still being added to (see below) and right now it’s been viewed 5555 times! Eleven young people have provided some great perspectives on Weymouth’s temporary Olympic life (being continued until the end of the Paralympics) with observations and reviews on cultural events and interviews with visitors, residents and businesses, and even a rival Olympic Sailing team from Denmark!
Covering this wide range of topics using smartphones could have created something of a car-crash of documentation but through the briefing sessions each morning with mentors, including workshop leader David Goldblatt, we hoped to provide a focus for the reporting (which largely paid off!) and the style of blog we selected helped give coherence to the disparate contents. What’s been created through the blog is a multi-faceted portrait of small English seaside town which, for a few weeks, has experienced an extraordinary and large-scale invasion. We were in a unique position to document the impact of this since we were representing neither official media nor any organising body, although we did adhere to the #media21012 charter. This was a significant factor as people who were approached for interviews then understood they could give their honest views – some local businesses were very disheartened, some downright angry, but the majority of people were thoroughly positive – especially after the spectacular and beautiful ‘torch wade’.
We were based in a great location in centre of town in a building we shared with the Maritime Mix project – which we contributed to through our blog. The young citizen journalists worked incredibly hard and very enthusiastically during the four very full days of the media camp and became a team almost instantly, working together to grab and make opportunities for producing content and devising ingenious solutions to technical or logistical problems. They visibly grew in confidence as they approached all manner of complete strangers with requests for insights into their work, opinions, or a quick portrait. Each team member brought different types and levels of technical and creative experience to the camp so knowledge was shared and skills learnt or developed as they produced and edited content for their posts. You can find out more about the Media Camp over on our citizen journalism blog and photographs of the team at work in the Media Camp gallery.
The Bristol team passed on the upkeep of the blog to students from Weymouth College who in turn handed the task on to James Randell. We first met James in July last year on one of our early citizen journalism pilot projects when we went with Emma Rich from Bath University to the One Year to Go to the Olympics celebrations in Weymouth. We’d been sharing the office space with him at our Weymouth HQ as he’s been an intern with Maritime Mix and involved with the Nowhereisland project for over a year. So, please keep an eye on the Weymouth blog to stay updated with the continuing Maritime Mix programme right up to the closing of the Paralympic Games.
Many thanks for the input, help and support to make the Media Camp happen to colleagues at Watershed; David Goldblatt; Dr Emma Rich at Bath University; Tim Abberley and other Weymouth College colleagues; Sandy Kirkby at b-side; Alan Rogers – Cultural Co-ordinator, Weymouth and Portland 2012 Operations Team, Richard Crowe – London 2012 Creative Programmer; Lisa Worthington and the rest of the Maritime Mix team in Weymouth, and finally the RELAYS project itself – excellent partnership working!
We’ve been so gratified with the outcome of this project in particular but also our overall excursions into citizen journalism that we’re hoping to extend this work to cover some other areas with young people, and maybe older ones too, in the near future – please come back soon to find out where we’re going with this!
This entry was posted on Mon 13th Aug, 2012.