Case Studies/Convergent Community Newsroom
While editorialising and opinion have a place in the newsroom, the primary function of a Zed journalist is to inform and educate. — 4ZzZ News Policy
The Convergent Community Newsroom (CCN) is a project of Brisbane community radio station 4ZzZfm. With a mission ‘to provide a voice for community interests and concerns of marginalised groups in Brisbane that are not represented in mainstream media,’ 4ZzZ aims to have a participatory focus in its reporting.
The ‘Triple Zed’ newsroom supplies information to support communities and a platform by which individuals and organisations can identify local problems and pressing issues. The station aims to develop a framework to sustain local arts, music and culture to reflect a sense of Australian identity, character and cultural diversity, and to widen the community’s involvement in broadcasting, whilst facilitating broader participation in political processes.
- ‘Journalists are encouraged to inform themselves of alternative view points and to especially seek them out when producing news.’ 4ZzZ News Policy
In 2006, the Convergent Community Newsroom received funding from the Community Broadcasting Foundation of Australia to support a pilot initiative exploring the ways in which convergent media technologies can generate content for the community media sector. At that point, CCN comprised a group of nine 4ZzZ journalists producing current affairs and features across radio, online and television formats, creating content appropriate for the Australian audience.
The CCN utilises the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 2.5 Australia licence to facilitate the easy syndication of content on the network. Each page displays the Creative Commons logo and licence link at the bottom, and carries the associated embedded licence metadata. Contributors agree to the Creative Commons licence when submitting and uploading their stories.
As specified in the station policy, journalists working in the 4ZzZ news department are encouraged to maintain professional standards, accuracy and attribute all sources, just as would be expected at a corporate media organisation.
4ZzZ seeks to provide a variety of content across audio, video and online. According to Barry Saunders, former director of the CCN, the newsroom is a community media project, driven by concerns about the communication of news, not profit. In an email interview conducted with Rachel Cobcroft from Creative Commons Australia in November 2007, Barry stated that the Convergent Community Newsroom wanted its material syndicated as widely as possible, and that Creative Commons facilitated that syndication. Whilst 4ZzZ was unable to track the entire extent of this reuse owing to funding considerations, other Australian radio stations were known to broadcast their stories.
Banner image used with permission.