Manchester Universities Catholic Chaplaincy
Much is made of how media and the way news is consumed is changing beyond all recognition. Newspaper sales are declining rapidly, and the number of people watching TV shows on an actual televisions is also falling. From this many people and commentators talk about the rise of digital media and how we should cast aside all these old or traditional media in favour of the new ones. In addition, it seems a binary attitude develops from this debate, where you prefer one over the other, defining yourself in the process.
I do not see traditional media disappearing but merely becoming part of the much larger number of ways in which news and information can be consumed. All these ways have their own advantages and disadvantages. My experience of setting up the foodbank has helped me to realise that traditional media such as Newspapers, Television and Radio, still has a major role to play in raising awareness. It is through traditional media we have gained most recognition and received most contact. Everyone I have spoken to always tells me how they read about the foodbank in the paper or heard it on the radio. The number of people who tell me they heard of us 'first' on twitter or facebook can be counted on one hand.
Traditional media has a reputation of professionalism which means stories and information have more impact on their audiences. Social Media still to many people is seen as a talking shop. The first thing everyone does (or should do) when they see a story on Twitter is to check its authenticity on a 'proper' news website. When the Manchester Central Foodbank is mentioned in the newspaper or on the radio, people seem to register the information in a different way. For the foodbank to raise awareness and to get more individuals and organisations helping us, we have to continue using this type of media. Social Media can only really compliment (at least for the time being) our drive to get more people in the community aware of the work we are doing.