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Not just PSB (Public Service Broadcasting): PSM (Public Service Media) too
- time to shift the debate

from Chris Haydon, Director, Community TV Trust

I set up Community TV Trust in 1997 (incorporated 1999, registered as a charity 2000) in order to pursue social and community aims and personal empowerment. My career in broadcasting stood me in good stead as a facilitator and trainer. I had worked on early access TV programmes at LWT (1978 London Programme) and Granada TV (1984).

Given that technology has now redefined how we broadcast and deliver media/multimedia, technology has also redefined who broadcasts what to whom. It no longer makes sense to continue the debate about PSB without altering the parameters. Ergo, PSB may no longer be restricted to one-way broadcasters but be seen in new and broader contexts.

Broadband and the internet are now in our thinking. For me at CTVT for instance, my efforts to launch a meaningful attempt at building what I had formatted on paper as 'TV by the people for the people' made no progress whilst I looked in conventional areas such as cable for the delivering of content. Once I turned to the internet then possiblities emerged.

In late 2002 Community TV Trust launched its flagship project "Southwark.TV" which is PSB-nouveau ... media by the people of the people for the people. Public service media par excellence. It is a web-based venture and has drawn together over 50 community organisations and schools in the Southwark area in a focussed project to provide training and project support that turns consumers into producers. This is what technology has made possible and what efforts at empowering the disadvantaged desire.

New media must be involved in any consideration of PSB. Ofcom thinking has indeed opened out in th elast few years - including 'local' in the national debate, looking not just at broadcasting but to the internet and broadband as well.

The public at all ages and all levels of ability are already involved as media producers and media offered for broadband delivery supplies a service to others ... and if the media you consume overlaps with the life you are living, then the media makes the kind of sense that is rarely achievable via mainstream.

We are on the edge of integrating PSB - or PSM (Public Service Media as I prefer to call it) operating across traditional and new media platforms to serve in a focussed and educational way those who we know are 'hard to reach'. What is better for PSB than to work side by side with PSM ?

Chris Haydon
07970 970 715
Community TV Trust