Reflecting on social reporting or enabling social reporters

Picture 25.png[Summary: A personal learning reflection on digital reporting from events – enable people to report, don’t report on their behalf…]

I’ve facilitated young people as ‘roving reporter‘ and ‘digital journalists’, or even, in the terminology David Wilcox is developing, ‘social reporters‘, at events before – and I’ve acted directly as the digital reporter at a few events in the past.

However, trying to blog and digitally report from the annual conference of the Association of Principal Youth and Community Officers on Monday I found it surprisingly challenging to tap into the buzz of the event and build up a coherent blog record of what was going on. That’s not to say we haven’t managed to provide a good foundation for online discussion and networking between APYCO members in the future – but it did get me reflecting on the difference between being the reporter and facilitating the reporting process.

Supporting young people to be the digital reporters at events about young people has always made sense. Given the skills to operate video cameras and update the blog – young people are then able to go out into a conference or event and use their insights into the issues that affect them to ask the right questions. Holding the camera or the Dictaphone, and being in control of the blog, alters the usual balance of power between young people and adults in the conference setting – and generally produces great results.

So why didn’t I work with APYCO to equip a number of the youth service managers there to be the social reporters – to go out an interview their colleagues and to talk about the issues that affect them? Time & resources perhaps. And also not having yet had the experience of digital reporting from a managers event to reflect on. But I’ll certainly make sure I take the enabling others to report approach in the future rather than taking on the reporting role directly.