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Session notes: NW Community Radio networking as a basis for regional new journalism organizing

Convener: Jonathan Lawson, Reclaim the Media

Background: some 30-40 community radio stations from Alaska, BC, Washington, Idaho and Oregon came together several years ago with the shared intention of forming a collaborative media network. As envisioned, the NW Community Radio Network would serve a number of functions:

  • providing distribution points for sharing regionally-relevant content
  • providing a larger, regional audience for local and independent audio producers
  • creating a shared brand which increases awareness and respect for "community radio"
  • providing a regionally focused content stream for under-resourced member outlets such as low-power FM stations
  • supporting mentoring relationships among regional stations, producers, etc.

The network project was received enthusiastically by stations, but has not been fully realized due to lack of resources (individual stations don't have surplus time to create/manage network relationships, a crucial technology partner had to bow out without fulfilling a major commitment.

The most visible outcome of the network to date is the production and distribution of the weekly collaborative radio Listen Up! Northwest...


Does NW community radio infrastructure represent a good distribution opportunity for other community-focused media or independent media in our region?

Could a regional network provide benefits to independent local blogs, independent producers,etc?

What (additional) distribution platforms would be helpful?

What other networks are natural fits for community radio? What outreach is happening or needed to happen?

Jessica: Seems that a missing piece to the described network idea is the administrative piece. (Unfunded)

David: who in the community radio universe is already collaborating with other meida in their community? Is KBCS or KSER collaborating with other media outlets?

Wakx: KBCS .. Wing Luke produces audio exhibits... collaborating in bringing that audio to airwaves. Work with Sable Verity (blogger), have taken audio from filmmaker documentary producers...

DM: is there a connection between InvestigateWest and community radio?

Rita: want to do stories in multimedia platforms... planned some training fellowships with KUOW... interested in more of same.

Phil: at CFRO, every show has its own autonomy.. creates a lot of diversity.

Susan: power of Indymedia model is shared space of different media formats. possibility for shared exposure for other independent media outlets. Partially successful.

CPB-funded project where a community station de-branded their news site

DM: NW news network launched when KUOW and KPLU etc. neither could afford to put a reporter in Olympia. Other NPRs wanted to join in.

KBCS: Community Radio is good at talking... we partner by finding people who can talk and put them on the air. We produce features. Where community radio is weakest is in providing hard news, national, intl and local. To buy into NW Community Radio Network, would want there to be news. That's difficult.

Need news from Olympia. Working with Trevor Griffey to produce 1-minute segments... labor-intensive to produce, download, re-post and localize

Need more folks to do trainings...

to have every commiunity to drill into an investigative storythat can be driilled into in each community... we want to provide answers to questions you might ask in your community.. could be made into very local stories.

for hard daily news problem: have stations partnered with hyperlocal blogs?

KBCS currently scours blogs, uses as rip and read news source for morning programming.

What would be useful: for stations like KBCS: training for web journalists to produce their own materials into audio segments..

If you have a program, how to train new journalists... how to pay for that? charging media outlets for access to service is one model.

Lining up stories from web media and availability of journalists for interview

Useful: saving editing time, producing segments

NPRs could offer space or training to get web journalists ready

Idea for Knight...piece together a system with different segments – KAOS Olympia, training bloggers, aggregating access to stories, doing some production of

Do stations air segments from other stations? If not why not? CFRO: there's just too many stories.

KBCS : wants a streamlined place for folks to upload, find content .each site has its own problems. also lack of knowledge of what's out there in terms of stories to air on a day-to-day basis.

CPB provided grants for producers to go to PRX, pull down content and stitch it into programs.

Is PRX a good place to go?

Another variation: literally create a program, a "Talk of the Region," rotating hosts, stories this week.

Knight, Pew, Poynter?

Who is best applicant? should it come from a new media provider? CLP? station? Doesn't need to be figured out at this point.

Collab, cross-communities, wrestling with new tech, need a way to train people to use cell-phone to do a really good commentary?

David, Jessica, Jonathan, others willing to continue conversation--think about next steps and possibility of creating a funding proposal

Summary of one identified desired outcome:

  • To help push new media and community media journalism (web "print" based, ethnic media etc) to community radio audiences, maturing existing community radio infrastructure as a regional news and information source, while expanding the audience of regional community media, investigative media startups, local blogs etc.

Summary of some identified needs:

  • Central source for compiling regionally-relevant news in a form which can be grabbed by community radio stations—audio segments, research/story resources and rip-and-read content.
  • Training program to enable "print" media journalists to record audio versions of content suitable for community radio distribution
  • editorial/managerial capacity to administer the program, outreach to stations, bloggers, new media, content-producing nonprofits and independent producers

Discussion participants: Jonathan Lawson Lindsay Toler Ben Ernst Enrique Cerna Jessica Partnow Rita Hibbard Sonja Green Phil LeGood David Messerschmidt Fani Castillo Deborah Brandt Amy Rainey Susan Gleason Joaquin Uy Sabrina Roach