Citizens from across the UK are co-operating to give their perspective of the Olympics. The project, #Media2012, will allow everyday people to create their own media of the biggest sporting event of the year.
Jennifer Jones, the production co-ordinator, talked about her journey with the project at the FutureEverything conference in Manchester on Thursday, which has a special focus on working co-operatively together to mark the International Year of Co-operatives.
While studying her PHD, Jennifer took a trip to Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics. She realised there was more to the Olympics than traditional media reported: “The Olympics is one of the most watched media events on the planet, and one of the most recognisable brands on the planet.”
She explained there were two sides to the story; many people disagree with the Olympics and movements such as Occupy are looking into how they can use the event for their means.
Jennifer added that it was a great opportunity to explore citizen journalism and the ideas surrounding it. Since 2009, she encountered several community groups who had set up their own citizen journalism websites, including Citizen’s Eye based in Leicester.
Citizen’s Eye was created by John Coster who wanted to bring purpose back to his life after he was released from jail and it helped to provide education and social work for the community.
Using models such as Citizen’s Eye, Jennifer and her team, launched #Media2012 which describes itself as “the online Olympic and Paralympic citizen newswire” in 2010.
The project has helped to bring people together across the country and is “helping to reclaim the grand narrative” of this huge event. Added Jennifer: “I’ve met people who are never going to work in their lives, but they have managed to interview the major about the Olympics. It connects us all, people understand the Olympics, they watch it even if they don’t watch sport. That’s the most important thing.”
Since it was launched, it has been nominated for a Podium award by the Olympic Board. Jennifer said it is incredible that a project which is not an organisation, but instead a network of people could be nominated for such an award.
There is also a partner project called Citizen Relay, which follows the other story of the Olympic Torch as it travels around Scotland. Citizen journalists will be interviewing people about their opinion of the Olympics.