Thursday, March 11, 2010

The end of the 5 minutes …

The last month has been a bit of a rollercoaster re. media work. Our research on housing vacancy and ghost estates led to a lot of media interest and debate, centred around three peaks – one in relation to our initial blog post, the next in relation to ghost estates, and third around a report by another university released last Friday. Twice the story was the third item on the national TV news, and was also covered extensively by national radio and newspapers, and local radio and newspapers. In total we’ve tracked c.100 media pieces, not including local radio (although I only actually gave a handful of interviews). I think we’re at the tail end now, so the five minutes of attention are probably up. Which to be honest is no bad thing given it had associated costs, such as the amount of time it absorbed, tangling with vested interests and all that entails, and managing relationships with some of the organisations that fund the institute’s research. On the plus side it focused attention on a significant public issue and it has started a process of policy intervention. All in all it’s been an instructive exercise that threw up some lessons about dealing with the media and playing the role of a (so-called) ‘public intellectual’. What it’s demonstrated – somewhat to my surprise – is that an academic blog can get itself into public discourse, even if in a minor way, and make a difference to a degree. There might be something in this whole Web 2.0 thing …

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - Any time that a really substantive academic discourse ends up in positive change, I say that's a good thing! I commend you and your team.

Kerrie said...

Where does the image come from Rob? - I'm very interested

Rob Kitchin said...

I just typed 'media' into Google images. It comes up in a couple of different formats 2-5 pages in. Here are three versions: http://creativefusionmedia.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/social-media-agency-consultant2.jpg
http://www.webguild.org/events/images/1255980033_event_image.jpg
http://www.alchemyinteractive.co.uk/media/images/social_media_landscape.jpg