Watershed in Bristol began running citizen journalism (CJ) workshops for young people in March 2010 in collaboration with writer, educator and broadcaster David Goldblatt.
The workshops were part of the four-year long ‘RELAYS at Watershed‘ programme that led up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Over 18 months we ran eight CJ projects with 70 young people who used smartphones to report on topics ranging from Paralympian athletes training in Bath to a unique cultural quarter in Bristol – and all things Olympic in Weymouth.
When ‘RELAYS at Watershed’ come to an end, citizen journalism continued under the name of News from Elsewhere, started in 2013 with a new action research project supported by the University of Bristol and in collaboration with Ujima Radio, David Goldblatt and staff from the University.
This followed on from a pilot scheme ‘Bristol May or Watch’ where a group of young people used smartphones to cover several aspects of the first election for a Mayor in Bristol and concluded the process with a live broadcast on Ujima interviewing several of the Mayoral candidates.
CITIZEN JOURNALISM AND RADIO
The motivation for Watershed’s ‘News from Elsewhere’ programme of Citizen Journalism projects, devised and led by David Goldblatt, was to introduce the concept of citizen journalism to young people and provide them with the skills and techniques to use this readily available tool for the expression of ideas and opinions on topics that are of interest.
Combining radio with social media has great potential to add dimensions to each format – the content of radio programmes can be augmented with images on a blog, Twitter can both feed and respond to studio discussion topics, and promote blog posts while Facebook’s capacity to extend the community of listeners into new audiences has much scope. For this reason, when a funding opportunity emerged from the University of Bristol, Watershed partnered with Ujima to explore this potential on the first Bristol Mayorwatch project and the second iteration.
The outcome was an excellent example of what can be achieved in a compressed time period and did appear to have significantly boosted the confidence of the young presenters.