What a strange 7 days…
I feel like I’ve been through a shrapnel whirlwind and there are a dozen fragments lodged in my brain, any of which could either strike gold or explode any time.
One thread runs through it all – the medja. But even that has four faces. Three great positives:
- Giles Edwards of Radio 4 was ’embedded’ in the Community Organisers intensive introductory training, staying with us throughout. His combination of enthusiasm, watchfulness and unobtrusiveness worked well, and most of all his trust-building approach put everyone at ease. He contacted me back in March and we had several long conversations about organising, the Big Society, politics, the detail and sensitivities of the programme. He visited each of the three host organisations he wanted to ‘follow’ and won their co-operation. He worked closely with Re:generate to plan his presence at the training. And he invested the time to cover the subject fairly. Now he is ‘following’ the teams of Community Organisers in their home patches. His programme is due to be broadcast in the New Year and we will pump it as hard as we can to pay back the respect shown.
- The Hastings Observer – fantabulous coverage of Hastings Pier today, including an 8-page supplement to mark the first anniversary of the devastating pier fire of 5th October 2010. Phrases like “a new dawn has arrived” and “light at the end of the tunnel”, along with some great coverage of our new CEO, “ex-Disney man” Simon Opie. The supplement was sponsored by our local shopping centre Priory Meadow who have the lovely strapline “Supporting the Pier through thick and thin since 2006”. TBH, I was almost choked with pride – to live in this great town, to be a part of it, and to have helped make this dead pier a symbol of hope and empowerment!
- Meridian TV – who actually said “you are perfect”! They phoned this morning, Andy turned up calm and easy-going. We went over to the pier, he set up the camera double-quick and asked me three questions. I answered in 20-second bites (by happy accident). He handed me the headphones, swivelled the camera piece and played it back for me. It was all over in half an hour and left a warm glow.
And then there’s…
- Newsnight, who continue to occupy the opposite extreme in terms of respectful behaviour. They can’t even get the basics right (someone paid £15k is not a volunteer and we have never called them that), and have to resort to pretending the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall (rescued from dereliction by many supporters listed in full view on a wall in the training room) is a ‘mansion’ on ‘a Cheshire estate’. When they came into the training, a roomful of dedicated, skilled, exhausted people were subjected to having cameras and microphones shoved in their faces, followed to their ‘luncheon’ (sic!) and baited and patronised in every interview. I am delighted to say that Rob, Perry, Stephen and the minister for civil society Nick Hurd were all superb advocates. I’d say COMMUNITY ORGANISERS 3 : NEWSNIGHT 0.