A divergence of community in the modern world has had a massive influence on the way we communicate with each other in the public sphere. We think that the internet’s realm of infinite possibility has made it easier for us to communicate, but the reality isn’t necessarily so straightforward. First of all, should we assume that everyone wants to talk to each other all the time in the first place?

For the third episode of Season 2 of the Bido Lito! Arts + Culture Podcast, we speak with Dr Paddy Hoey, journalist and senior lecturer in Media, Film and Television at Edge Hill University. On the table is a discussion about the role that community media plays today, when digital means have caused our communities to become divergent and shifted away from the mass public spheres we have long been accustomed to. What that means for local newspapers, radio and the new media springing up around nascent hyper-local communities is discussed with fervour, as Paddy’s infectious enthusiasm spills into his conversation.

The notion that any form of media is “mainstream” or establishment has taken root, with scepticism abounding. In the firing line are old institutions like broadsheet newspapers, the BBC and the humble local newspaper. Many micro-networks have grown up in opposition to this “mainstream media” that dissenters believe doesn’t represent them. Those who call for the established pillars of journalism to be torn down dismiss the craft of journalism itself, and the value in reporting on stories that people recognise as relating to themselves. So, what do we do when the old networks of public service broadcasting go? What do we replace them with?

As a journalist, Paddy has written for the Daily Post, the Liverpool Echo and The New European, among others. His research interests are in the areas of activist media, mediated politics, the public sphere and the internet, social media, Northern Irish politics and Irish republican activism. This research has led to him writing his book Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters: Irish Republican Media Activism Since The Good Friday Agreement, published in 2018.

As such, he is very well placed to comment on the nodes of community media that exist today, and how they bleed into activism. We will also be releasing a further short interview with Paddy, recorded in 2019, with a particular focus on activism. In the meantime, send us your thoughts on this topic – and any others you’d like us to discuss.

Listen along and tell us what you think – listen above, or via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Acast and Stitcher. Get in touch with us to share your own stories on, or tweet us @BidoLito.


What Is Activism?

Following on from the community media podcast, we have an extra bonus episode for you! This is based on an earlier conversation Laura had with Dr Paddy Hoey, in 2019, about activism in the digital age, based around the book he’d just written about Irish republican media activism. We thought we’d release this conversation as a bonus addition to the previous podcast as a lot of similar subjects are covered here, but through the lens of media being used as an activist tool.

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