Read about the RSA Networks event - see the videos

Information about RSA networks and OpenRSA here. More about this blog, and how to join in.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Anyone interested in an open discussion on civic journalism?

Rosie Anderson has now explained more about the RSA Journalism Network over on the RSA Networks site. The joint initiative with the Reuters Institute of Journalism aims to "support the civic function of news" but will be focussed on working, professional journalists as "a professional sub-culture, a community of practice".
Others who don't fall into this category ("news users") are encouraged by Rosie to start their own discussions.
The main RSA Networks site is currently still open for anyone to register, but as I understand it, that will change as it is recoded and integrated into the main RSA site. At that point it will be for RSA Fellows only, plus occasional invited guests. That may be great for building the Fellowship, and starting Fellows-staff projects, but it doesn't sound appropriate as a discussion space where "professional journalists", citizen journalists and others interested in using social media for social benefit can meet.
I'm personally most interested in breaking out of the old media professional boundaries because I think greatest innovation - and citizen empowerment - is likely to take place as old cultures are challenged, openly. It's time the newspeople stopped seeing those that they write for as "news users", now we are producing a lot of our own content online.
It's a point well made by Nick Booth at Podnosh a while back, when writing about the BBC initiative to support Manchester bloggers.
From my experience of BBC editorial meetings this would require a culture shift. The discussion has traditionally been rather cynical – based on traditional journalistic instinct about what makes a good story. This will often require conflict, criticism and celebrity (or prominence) as a core part of the story. News is made or broken by whether those things exist or can be readily conjured up.
I'm developing ideas about what Charlie Beckett and others are calling networked journalism over at and suggesting we need to develop a new set of values.
Anyone else interested in open discussions about civic-networked journalism, and/or know where they are taking place?
I personally think it is a bit arrogant of RSA and Reuters Institute to think they can have a useful discussion about civic journalism without civic journalists, but that's the new-style social reporter in me showing through.
David (NUJ member since 1968)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

RSA journalism network on "civic function of news"

Stephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Citizenship, is launching an RSA Journalism Network over on the RSA Networks site.

The public’s declining trust in the news media is a worrying trend. The RSA and the Reuters Institute of Journalism are looking at how we can support the civic function of news. We’re particularly interested in how professional journalists and Fellows relate to the public’s ideas about news and what it is for.
This is a very timely project ... but as I argue on my blog I do think that this is something that should be a public discussion, even if it starts off behind the login.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Chichester Networks Event - 7th April 08

Monday 7th April 2008
6.30 for 7pm start; 9pm drinks; 10pm finish
The Council House, North Street, Chichester PO19 1LQ

"How can the RSA Fellow's Network contribute to local communities and serve as a catalyst for positive social progress?"

The evening will include an introduction with Matthew Taylor, RSA chief executive, as guest speaker, with the emphasis on building local networks and alliances of Fellows.

RSA Networks Project
Inspired by the highly successful event at the RSA in London on the 22 November 07, this evening has been arranged to give RSA Fellows living in regional communities the opportunity to meet other local Fellows and examine how the RSA Networks strategy can be developed at local level.

Open Space
The event on the 22 November was designed as an Open Space event and a portion of this evening will follow this workshop format, allowing you to self organise around issues and ideas that you really care about. This format ensures maximum participation, by creating an agenda collaborating on the evening and forming smaller discussion groups. Ideas, opinions and information from these discussions will then be fed back to those attending later in the evening, but also more widely via the RSA website.

The evening will include an introduction by Laura Bunt from RSA John Adam Street, an Open Space workshop, a demonstration of the developing RSA Networks website and refreshments.

If you have not yet registered to attend, contact Greg Slay or myself, Tessy Britton.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The (Re-inventing) Membership Project is now up and running

The Membership Project is now up and running, with a open collaboration website at Do come across and comment - or even better, register and contribute. Here's what we say on the About page.

The Membership Project explores how the social web and other factors are changing the ways in which we may belong to groups and organisations.
We believe that these changes will have major implications for civil society institutions, ranging from national charities to local groups.
Put simply, will people still pay subscriptions if they can get information, meet and collaborate through social networks? As individuals, how do we turn connections made online and in other ways into deeper relationships and ways of working towards a better society? What benefits must organisations offer in future to survive?
We are inviting anyone interested to join us in a exploring how 'membership' and the act of 'joining' is changing, review the implications for civil society institutions, and then to develop services, support or guidance to help them meet the challenges and opportunities.
The precise objectives and outputs will be agreed during an initial project design phase, when we will also consider the drivers behind change. We wish to situate our discussions of how 'membership' is changing within a broader exploration of changing patterns of involvement/participation, which have been driven by a range of technological (including social media) and social factors.
You'll see that the aim is to develop a market place for early ideas, products and services which can then form the basis for more substantial work packages and funding bids.

Big thank you to RSA and the NCVO Foresight team for initial funding to get the site up and develop first activities, and proposals.

We'll be talking to RSA staff and NCVO about organising a get-together for anyone interested within the next month.