New Year, new challenge! The Inishowen Community Media Network (ICMN) plans to run ‘Community Voice’, digital media training courses for beginners in several community centres and post-primary schools throughout Inishowen.
These will include Spraoi agus Sport in Carndonagh, Clonmany and Malin Head Community Centres, Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Moville and Carndonagh community schools.
Harry Kerr is the ICMN Project Coordinator, and he hopes that the courses will start as soon as the current Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. ‘This project has been delayed for a while due to the Covid situation, but we plan to get it going as soon as it is safe to do so. The courses will train people in audio production for radio and podcasts, and video production for online TV and social media. This will also include training in research and interviewing techniques, broadcast law, media literacy and community media ethos,’ he said.
Training will be open to all members of the community with special emphasis on those from socially excluded backgrounds, early school leavers, the elderly and other disadvantaged backgrounds. Harry explained that the courses will be a mix of online and ‘on location’ sessions. ‘Having a mix of participants of different ages and backgrounds in a room together is important for the project. People working together, learning from each other to create a sense of community is vital. Moving
the courses to totally online would miss the point,’ he said.
As part of the training, ICMN aims to develop clusters of community media creatives who will form teams to operate and broadcast an online radio or TV service for their local area. Each area would operate this service once a month over a weekend covering community events, local history, sports, arts and more. Over time, ICMN has acquired most of the equipment to deliver this project with funding from Donegal County Council and LEADER, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing In rural areas.
‘All content will be hosted on a dedicated community media website www.icmedia.ie which will have the added benefit of keeping the Inishowen diaspora connected with home. The aim is to give local communities a voice, connect them to those who are abroad, and use modern technology in a creative and supportive way,’ said Harry.
In an era of fake news, where media ownership and control are becoming increasingly concentrated in fewer hands, concerns are growing about the media’s power and influence. This project aims to create an alternative, more democratic, media-literate, community-owned and operated media. Individuals can use these new digital media skills for their own enjoyment, to create content, become better communicators and improve their employability.
Community groups will learn how to use the technology to promote their activities, their profile, and raise awareness about important issues cheaply and effectively.
Small businesses and sole traders would also benefit from this training to promote their products and services, especially where marketing budgets are low or non-existent.
The courses are free to participants and funded by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.
For more information about the Network and the courses check out their website at www.icmedia.ie,
email Harry at email@example.com or call 086 8156289.