TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media

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Module Description

This module introduces learners to the concept of community media. Community media gives voice to participants and citizens in grassroots and marginalised communities. By promoting alternative voices, community media puts social impact and the everyday life stories of people that it represents centre stage. In this way community media is distinct from commercial and public sector media. This module gives learners the opportunity to experience and develop skills as practitioners of community and collaborative media. There are four themes covered in this module:

Community Media Principles: This theme considers how community media is recognised as distinctive from other forms of media, and how issues such as: social impact, participation, representation and activism all help to define and shape community media. Learners will be encouraged to look at how people working in community media acquire a sense of identity as an alternative form of media that is formed at the grassroots, and thereby supporting alternative voices.

Community Media Practices: This theme considers how community media is defined through a set of practices and actions, such as citizen’s journalism, the local reporting of news stories, ethical reporting practices, sharing and collaborating in media production roles, and taking part in a community of practice.

Community Media Case Studies: This theme will look at community media groups as they are active in Leicester, and will encourage learners to take part in different events and group sessions. The aim with this theme is to encourage participation in different types of community media and to share experiences and stories about how they work in practice.

Community Media Social Impact: The main difference that community media offers is that it looks at media participation and representation as a process that serves alternative needs within society. Rather than simply being commercial or mass entertainment, this theme investigates the difference that community media makes in the lives of people living in local communities.

Module Tutors

Dr Rob Watson

GH6.13 Gateway House

0116 257 7057

Rob's Website

Working Hours: Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm

Office Hours:

  • 11.00-11.40 Monday
  • 15.00-15.40 Tuesday

John Coster

Queens Building, Q1.25


Module Handbook

TECH1502 Module Handbook

Lecture Notes

Notes are also available to download as PDF documents from Rob Watson's website Rob Watson Media.

Lectures One - Twelve

Lecture One: Community Media is Different

Lecture Two: Case Studies: Community Reporting

Lecture Three: Case-Studies: Community Radio

Lecture Four: Case Studies: International Community Media

Lecture Five: What is Community Media?

Lecture Six: What is Community?

Lecture Seven: Decline of Community

Lecture Eight: Voices and Self-Expression

Lecture Nine: Community Identity

Lecture Ten: DIY Media

Lecture Eleven: Against the Mainstream

Lecture Twelve: Community Media Examples & Principles

Lectures Thirteen - Twenty-Four

Lecture Thirteen: Media Literacies

Lecture Fourteen: Participation & Engagement

Lecture Fifteen: Being Social & Collaborative

Lecture Sixteen: Creativity & Making Stuff

Lecture Seventeen: Critical Thinking

Lecture Eighteen: Community Cohesion

  • Reading: Rennie - Chapter Five (Development)
  • Reading: McMillan & Weyers - Chapter Seventeen (General Writing Structures).
  • Viewing:
  • Video Summary:

Lecture Nineteen: Report Writing

Lecture Twenty: Music Expression & Identity

  • Reading: Howley - Chapter Two (Tracing the Global Through the Local)
  • Reading: McMillan & Weyers - Chapter Nineteen (Editing & Presenting Assignments).
  • Viewing:
  • Video Summary:

Lecture Twenty One: Academic Evidence

Lecture Twenty Two: Civic Representation

Lecture Twenty Three: Social Action & Development

Lecture Twenty Four: Community Media Development

Workshop Notes

Notes are also available to download as PDF documents from Rob Watson's website Rob Watson Media.

Workshops One - Twelve

Workshop One: Introduction

Workshop Two: DMU Commons Blog & Wiki Set Up

Workshop Three: Being a Community Reporter

Workshop Four: Community Reporting Skills

Workshop Five: Community Reporting Roles

  • Reading: Cottrell & Morris - Chapter Seven (Social Media)
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Workshop Six: Documentary Media

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Workshop Seven: Doc Media Centre Visit

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Workshop Eight: Information Management

  • Reading: Cottrell & Morris - Chapter Three (Managing Information)
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Workshop Nine: Audio Interview Skills

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Workshop Ten: Vlogging & Video Interviewing

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Workshop Eleven: Conversation Skills

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Workshop Twelve: Community Media Reporting Research

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Workshops Thirteen - Twenty-Four

Workshop Thirteen: Fanzine Publishing

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Workshop Fourteen: Creative Activities

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Workshop Fifteen: Community Media Literacies

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Workshop Sixteen: Collaboration Evaluation

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Workshop Seventeen: Evaluating Community Media Projects

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Workshop Eighteen: Vlogging for Evaluation

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Workshop Nineteen: Evaluation Planning

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Workshop Twenty: Publication Development

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Workshop Twenty One: Publication Production

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Workshop Twenty Two: Report Formatting

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Workshop Twenty Three: Academic Evidence

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Workshop Twenty Four: Report Checklist

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  • Coursework Portfolio: 50% (formative, three components)
  • Academic Report: 50% (Summative, formative)

Portfolio: The coursework portfolio will comprise a range of media content in the form of reports, features, interviews and articles produced by learners using different examples of social media (such as podcasts, blogs, online video, micro-blogs, social media networks), broadcast media (such as contributions to community radio and television programmes), printed media (such as newspapers and magazine articles, photography and graphic designed images), digital learning badges, wiki articles, online forum discussions, presentations and formally delivered academic papers.

Report: The report will provide a systematic and reflexive assessment of the students’ academic experience as a community media content producer. Evaluating the primary content collated in the portfolio, this report will evaluate and synthesise key texts, reports and statements with secondary published texts about the status and value of community media products that are published online and through broadcast or printed sources.

Assessment Outline

Component One – Social Media Platform Set-Up (5%)

An assessment of your ability to:

  • Set-up your blog site on the DMU Commons, to personalize your site and to post a set of entries related to the lectures and your interest in community media.
  • Set-up your personal profile page on the DMU Wiki, and to write objectively about yourself in the style of a Wikipedia entry.
  • Link your blog to the site.
  • Link your blog to your Twitter Account, Google, YouTube, Facebook accounts.
  • Minimum Work: Four blogs and one wiki entry, site personalisation, adding social media accounts, working feed for DIY-DMU site.
  • Deadline: Week Six, 10am Monday 6th November 2017.
  • Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on your DMU Commons Wiki Profile.
  • Marking & Feedback: 10am Monday 4th December 2017.

TECH1502-18 Coursework A - Brief & Assessment Criteria

Component B - Community Reporter Investigation (15%)

For this assignment, you will research and write about these issues, as they are discussed and talked about in newspaper articles, in blog sites, in chat rooms, and so on. But particularly you will look at different types of community media.

Your blogs will summarise the key issues of concern, and will use quotes, links and screengrabs to demonstrate what is being discussed in these articles and threads.

The final blog post of this section of your coursework portfolio should be a three-minute reflective video, posted either to the blog directly, or embedded into your blog as a YouTube video. This vlog will give a basic overview of what you discovered in your investigation and in what way your group will take this information and use it in the next assignment, and turn this into a practical project. You should aim to incorporate a wide variety of content such as podcasts, videos, blogs and wikis, or whatever forms of media you are asked to experiment with and try out. We want you to experiment with creativity and innovation, so your media skills will be something you want to show off as you learn new skills and use new platforms.

So, you will submit five blog posts, the last blog being a three-minute video blog that reflects on what you have learnt so far.

It is essential that you establish the habit of blogging regularly, so you will be expected to post a blog each week, with an updated link on your wiki profile page, and an explanation of what is distinctive and innovative about the blog post. Time will be put aside in the workshop sessions for this.

  • Minimum Work: Five weekly blog posts published from Week 6 to Week 11.
  • Deadline: Week 12 (1st week of Christmas break), 10am Monday 18th December.
  • Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on your DMU Commons Wiki Profile.
  • Marking & Feedback by: 10am 22nd January 2018.

TECH1502-18 Coursework B - Brief & Assessment Criteria

Component C – Community Media Reporting Group Project (30%)

Your task in this assignment is to take on the role of a community reporter, produce a community newspaper, and tell stories that are relevant to a particular community in Leicester. Your tutor will guide you and help you to develop the skills that you need to do this, and will help you to identify the communities that you will be working with.

You will be undertaking the following tasks:

  • Planning, researching, and producing a community newspaper.
  • Researching topics and issues of discussion to include in this newspaper.
  • Interviewing people and finding out what they want to discuss, then writing these interviews as stories to be included in the newspaper.
  • Writing about topics and issues that are important to the social and civic development of the identified communities.
  • Formatting and presenting stories that are interesting and engaging, and which tell these stories in an engaging way.
  • Using media to enhance these stories, such as producing video or audio, taking photographs, using social media, and so on.
  • Using social media to share these stories, and as a way to promote your final newspaper.

What you will actually be marked on is your blog journal. You are expected to keep a journal that records your involvement and level of participation through the process of developing and putting into practice your Community Media Reporting Group Project.

Entries will be posted to your blog each week and listed on your personal wiki profile page as done in the previous assignment.

The final blog post will consist of a video presentation lasting no longer than three minutes, that reflects on what you have personally learnt about this community media reporting project, how you have improved and developed your creative media skills, and how this relates to the content that you will have posted to your own blog site and the module wiki.

  • Minimum Work: Ten blog posts published, at least one each week 15 to Week 22.
  • Deadline: Week 22, 10am Monday 12th March 2018.
  • Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on DMU Commons Wiki Profile.
  • Marking & Feedback: Thursday 11th April 2018.

TECH1502-18 Coursework C - Brief & Assessment Criteria

Component Four – Report (50%)

This assignment tests your ability to plan, research and write an academic report that answers a specific question of concern related to community media, and which draws on the academic reading recommended for the module. Therefore, you will:

  • Relate your answer to the specific reading material listed as essential or recommended in the module reading list.
  • Use evidence gathered from legitimate sources.
  • Use academic language and analysis conventions.
  • Structure your report according to academic standards and conventions.
  • Provide suitable objective and verifiable examples that illustrate your points.
  • Use suitable academic arguments that will explain your points.

Choose one of the following questions:

  • Can community reporting enhance our sense of neighbourliness?
  • Can community reporting give all people a recognised voice?
  • Is promoting alternative and DIY forms of media socially beneficial?
  • Are Leicester’s community media groups doing a good job?
  • Minimum Work: 2000 Word Report.
  • Deadline: 10am Tuesday 8th May 2018.
  • Submission: Turnitin via TECH1502 Blackboard.
  • Marking & Feedback: 10am Thursday 7th June 2018.

TECH1502-18 Coursework D - Brief & Assessment Criteria


It is expected that learners will read all of the material from the essential reading list, to broaden and deepen understanding of the subject beyond the basic, and thus enhance performance in assessments. Students do not need to read all items on the recommended list; since many items listed may be alternative sources covering the same subject matter.

Essential Reading

  • Cohen, J. & Kenny, T. (2016) Producing New and Digital Media. Abingdon, Focal Press.
  • Monbiot, G. (2016) How Did We Get into This Mess? Verso, London.
  • Philips, R. & Pittman, R.H. (eds) (2015) An Introduction to Community Development, 2nd Edition, Routledge, London.
  • Rennie, E. (2006). Community Media - A Global Introduction. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Study Skills

  • Cottrell, S., & Morris, N. (2012). Study Skills Connected - Using Technology to Support Your Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • McMillan, K. & Weyers, J. (2012) How to Improve Your Critical Thinking & Reflective Skills (Smarter Study Skills), Harlow, Pearson.

Recommended Reading

  • Atton, C. (2002). Alternative Media. London: Sage.
  • Howley, K. (2005). Community Media - People, Places and Communication Technologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Howley, K. (Ed.) (2010). Understanding Community Media. London: Sage.
  • Lewis, P. M. (2008). Promoting Social Cohesion: The Role of Community Media (F-67075). Retrieved from Brussels:
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

DMU Library Resource List

The list of learning resources can be accessed at the DMU Library, which has links to any additional electroinc resources associated with these books. TECH1502 DMU Library Resource List.

Learning Skills

If you want to share and discuss the topics and ideas explored in the module on social media, please use the hashtag #tech1502

Social Learning

In this module emphasis will be placed on collaboration, sharing, discussion and participation. The idea is that learning is enhanced if it is shared and collectively developed. Each person has a responsibility to play their part in the activities and the tasks, and to encourage and support other learners as the module unfolds.

As a community of learners and practitioners this approach recognises that there is more to be gained from a non-hierarchical approach and by spreading-out the tasks using social media tools that encourage everyone to participate and to share their ideas, thoughts and observations in a constructive, non-judgemental, and practical way.

Face-to-Face Interaction

While the subject of this module is community media, the primary approach of the learning activities will be based on face-to-face interaction. This takes places in lectures, labs and arranged tutorials. A typical workshop session will consist of a short introduction presentation, the distribution of instructions via the module page on the DMU Commons Wiki, and then short discussions with individuals and small groups throughout the remainder of the session. This takes an informal approach to interaction between the learner and the tutor.

Verbal Instructions

While many of the tasks and coursework assignments are specified in detail in this handbook, learners are encouraged to listen to the verbal instructions of the tutor, and to ask questions based on the notes that they take. Any questions that relate to the practical work, the reading work, or the assignments associated with this module should be noted by learners and asked during the practical sessions. This is why attendance is essential, and why good listening skills and a distraction-free environment are important. The assignments described here are starting points and are not prescriptive. Learners are encouraged to go-beyond the tasks and activities that are set here, and to investigate for themselves different ways that social media might be used.


Lecture notes and lab worksheets will be provided as PDF documents, with any essential information, links, diagrams, references and source material. However, learners are expected to keep notes for themselves, and to record information that is not given in the handouts. Notetaking is an essential skill and it is important to develop the habit and routine practice of writing notes, sketching diagrams, doodling and so on. You never know when these notes might be useful.


A register will be kept of attendance at labs and attendance will be monitored. Non-attendance without good reason can often lead to failure of the module.

If you are ill or are away from the university due to an unavoidable or urgent matter please email FOTAC who will inform your tutors, who will mark you as absent. The university may require you to provide evidence to corroborate your absence at some point in the future.

Study Hours

Lecture: One Hour

The lecture will consist of an examination of ideas and concepts associated with the use and development of community media platforms and practices. The lectures run for no more than fifty minutes, and will start promptly on the hour and finish at ten minutes to the hour.

Media examples will be given, along with suggested reading and links to other media. It is expected that learners take notes during the lecture to supplement any notes that are made available by the lecturer. Learners are expected to adhere to the norms of academic practice during lectures, and not disturb or distract other students.

Lab: Two Hours

Labs will take the form of a workshop in which you will actively explore and produce content for your blog, experimenting with different types of community media, and applying problem solving and creative thinking techniques in order to get the best from them.

The lab will cover:

  • Discussions of issues covered in lectures.
  • Experimenting with different forms of community media.
  • Setting up blogs and wiki pages.
  • Writing blogs and wiki entries.
  • Sharing content and ideas.
  • Reflecting on feedback.
  • Planning for future work.
  • Sharing media content.

The workshop will take the form of a mixed session that will use different learning techniques and blended learning practices. Short-bursts of lecture-style presentations will be intermixed with discussions, online searches, practical production and project work. Some sessions will take place in different locations and away from the campus.

Personal Study: Eight Hours

As well as attending your classes you are expected to spend time each week working on coursework, background reading, independent investigation, group work and getting to know different social media platforms. Typically, this might be divided into:

  • Weekly blog planning & writing - One Hour
  • Weekly wiki planning & writing - One Hour
  • Media investigation - One Hour
  • Personal Journal - One Hour
  • Group Work - One Hour
  • Academic Reading - Three Hours
  • Total Minimum Study Time - Eight Hours

Tutor Contact

Your tutors will not answer queries and questions about coursework, the lectures or the workshops by email or any other forms of electronic communication.

Instead, you are expected to make a note of your questions in your notebook and bring them to your weekly lab session, where time will always be given to answer any ESSENTIAL questions that you have.

Your tutor has allocated time each week to see students for personal tutorials if required. These are listed at the front of this handbook, on your tutor’s wiki profile, and on the door of your tutor’s office.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module you will be able to demonstrate that you can:

  1. Use and evaluate key terms and concepts associated with community and collaborative me-dia, and to use these terms and concepts to undertake critical assessments and interventions in debates associated with of community media practices, organisation and policy.
  2. Plan, produce and share - responsibly and ethically - content and media products within a community media group or network.

This will require that you demonstrate:

  • An awareness and knowledge of the underlying concepts associated with community media.
  • An ability to interpret and evaluate terms and concepts associated with community media.
  • An ability to present data and evidence about community media principles and practices and to interpret that evidence using academic concepts.
  • An ability to produce media content (images, sound, text) using media production technologies which can then be distributed using broadcast, social or interactive community media.
  • An ability to evaluate different problem solving approaches related to social media production techniques and the media used by participants in community media networks.
  • An ability to relay information and communicate observations and findings from investigation into community media production practices.
  • An ability to try new learning practices and ideas, and to develop new skills for reflexive and self-evaluative learning.
  • An ability to manage and organise individual and group projects and to exercise personal responsibility in the completion of individual and group tasks and objectives.

Useful Links

Media Source Material

Back in Time for Brixton Episode 1, 00:45 23/11/2016, BBC2 Scotland, 60 mins. (Accessed 24 Nov 2016).

Black and British: A Forgotten History Episode 1, First Encounters, 00:45 22/11/2016, BBC2 Scotland, 60 mins. (Accessed 24 Nov 2016).

Black and British: A Forgotten History Episode 2, Freedom, 02:05 29/11/2016, BBC2 England, 60 mins. (Accessed 24 Nov 2016).

Black and British: A Forgotten History Episode 3, Moral Mission, 23:15 24/11/2016, BBC2 England, 60 mins. (Accessed 24 Nov 2016).

Black and British: A Forgotten History Episode 4, The Homecoming, 23:35 05/12/2016, BBC2 Wales, 60 mins. (Accessed 24 Nov 2016).

The Black Lesbian Handbook, [television programme, online] More 4, Prd. country U.K.] (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Bob and Roberta’s Excellent Protest Adventure, 21:00 17/11/2016, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 04 Dec 2016)

Boys from the Blackstuff Episode 1, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:35 26/9/2010, BBC FOUR, 59mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Boys from the Blackstuff Episode 2, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:30 3/10/2010, BBC FOUR, 60mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Boys from the Blackstuff Episode 3, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:30 10/10/2010, BBC FOUR, 63mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Boys from the Blackstuff Episode 4, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:30 17/10/2010, BBC FOUR, 73mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Boys from the Blackstuff Episode 5, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:00 24/10/2010, BBC FOUR, 70mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Can We Do It Ourselves, 19/05/2015 Fria Tidningar WebTV YouTube 59:22 (Accessed 28th November 2016).

Close to Home: The Story of Local Radio, 20:00 10/11/2007, BBC Radio 4, 60 mins. (Accessed 27 Nov 2017)

CMA vox pops v1 rough cut no VO, [Online Video] Community Media Association 19/09/2016 [YouTube] (Accessed 27/06/16).

Free Thinking, 22:00 24/06/2015, BBC Radio 3, 45 mins. (Accessed 28 Oct 2016)

Generation Screwed?, 00:25 08/11/2017, BBC1 Scotland, 40 mins. (Accessed 29 Oct 2017)

It's a Wonderful Life, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 16:15 20/12/2014, More 4, 155mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service , With documentary film-maker Adam Curtis, 16:00 16/10/2016, BBC 6 Music, 120 mins. (Accessed 18 Oct 2016).

The Last Pirates: Britain’s Rebel DJs, 21:00 29/09/2017, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 23 Nov 2017).

Last Whites of the East End, 23:45 24/05/2016, BBC1 London, 60 mins. (Accessed 26 Oct 2016).

Let’s Get a Good Thing Going, Calderdale, 09:15 22/12/2017, BBC1 London, 45 mins. (Accessed 11 Apr 2018)

Local News: What Are We Missing?, 11:00 22/11/2017, BBC Radio 4, 30 mins. (Accessed 27 Nov 2017)

Milk, [film, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 22:00 9/10/2011, BBC TWO, 128mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

The People’s History of Pop 1, The Birth of the Fan, 01:00 16/04/2016, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 09 Oct 2016)

The People’s History of Pop 2, 1966-1976: The Love Affair, 00:30 23/07/2016, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 09 Oct 2016)

The People’s History of Pop 3, 1976-1985 Tribal Gatherings, 21:00 07/10/2016, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 09 Oct 2016)

Sound It Out, 01:00 28/06/2014, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 23 Jan 2017).

5 live Report - The Big Soup Issue, 19:30 23/12/2007, BBC Radio 5, 30 mins. (Accessed 03 Feb 2017)

Key Words

Community, social impact, convergence, participation, collaboration, attention, critical consumption, social media, community development, DIY-Media, Web 2.0, technology, media, culture, mediation, media technology, new media, digital literacies.