Want a voice? Grow your own.

This week we were at the Brighton & Hove Community Reporters monthly meet up. It’s a forum where local community groups, reporters, media and bloggers come together to learn more about reporting or share experiences that help grow our voices.

The group has been meeting on a monthly basis for over 18 months, inviting guest speakers & discussions about issues affecting reporters & bloggers in communities or ideas on how people can leverage their ‘voice’. Our members range from locals running newsletters for their neighbourhood, charities and NGO representatives, bloggers and media professionals. As you can imagine, the skills and experiences are varied, each member brings good quality input to the forum. The overall aim is to develop the presence of local reporting in Brighton & Hove, whatever form that may take, as traditional local media is significantly under threat of decline due to a number of reasons, technology & economics playing a part.

Now it’s easier than ever to create a blog or a Facebook page, post & connect with your readership and all for free. You can share multi-media without having great technical skills, therefore stories are popping up in the most unlikely of sources, outside of mainstream media. One could argue that this type of reporting is more organic than mainstream media, that’s certainly a topic that crops up frequently. Brighton & Hove Community Reporters is facilitated by SCIP, a local not for profit organisation offering IT training and support for other non-profit or community groups. They also offer free one day training courses for Community Reporters (or aspiring ones) in areas such as WordPress publishing, podcasting & video blogging. The best thing about these initiatives are they are bound to increase the output frequency & quality of publishing in the community, therefore empowering local people with information about where they live and anything impacting their lives.

So if you want a voice, whether it’s for your neighbourhood or cause or simply your philosophy, put our next meeting in your diary, Thursday 14th July, 2011 at 7pm and find out how you can grow it.

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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