A community of communities ?

This may surprise you but we’re always thinking of ways to make WHYS better, more effective and truly reflective of your views and opinions.

It’s right that we are in a state of permanent evolution, though it does mean sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, and i have to make sure we don’t spread ourselves too thinly, to mix metaphors horribly.

All our editorial meetings are open, and the picture above is of the one we held in Copenhagen with a bunch of very well-informed and committed people on the issue of climate change.

What struck me then – and has at many of the meetings we hold when we’re on the road – is that most people don’t think like journalists.  Which is obviously a very good thing.

The Copenhagen meeting was very productive – the issues raised we would never have thought of, and there was enough to fill a month’s worth of programmes.

The only thing that particular group needed was our help in framing a question to house the debate they’d suggested with their knowledge and expertise.

I was talking to Ros about it afterwards and we hatched a sort of idea. 

You, the WHYS community are a varied and knowledgable bunch and you clearly set our agenda- that’s sort of the point.

But some of you are experts in science , medicine or the military or politics or whatever.

What i was thinking was whether we wanted to set up informal groupings of you around some of these subjects. Have a WHYS science group, or ethics or environment etc. Lubna , for example might wish to be part of a medical group and also one on Iraq.

You would sign up to one of the groups, talk to each other about subjects and issues you think we should be doing, and then lobby us for programme time.

You could have your own area of the blog so the wider community can see what you’re doing .

This way the wider community ( i know i over-use that word so feel free to suggest an alternative) gets the benefit of your knowledge and we all end up better informed.

Tell me if you think this won’t work, i’m a big bloke and i can take it .

On another issue, we’re currently talking about a second daily edition of WHYS . What time works best for you ?

Happy New Year and thank you.

36 Responses to “A community of communities ?”

  1. January 1, 2010 at 19:46

    Wow, wow, wow Mark, that is really a supermarvellous idea, I do absolutely love it !!! :-):-):-)…. I am totally with you guys, and I am more than happy to help out with anything you guys may need to make this idea work, and Inshallah it’ll work… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad… Ps, Happy New Year everybody ! 🙂

  2. 2 Vijay Pillai
    January 1, 2010 at 20:14

    Happy new year to you all full of great ideas.Will we be paid if we make contributions from now on as a part of Panel of Publci policy experts?

  3. 3 Dennis Junior
    January 1, 2010 at 20:22

    Mark~happy new years to you also….

    I loved the idea of “Community of Communities…”

    =Dennis Junior-

  4. January 1, 2010 at 22:23

    WHYS is a fantastic global forum linking people of different professions, passions, hobbies, experiences and interests. The idea of having a second daily WHYS is an excellent one say from 10pm to 11pm where topics of an adult nature or politics could be discussed in greater detail. There is no dearth of compelling human interest stories to stimulate ever-resourceful and intelligent world-service listeners, professionals and politicians to brain-storm, educate and entertain at the same time. With the British general election just around the corner there is so much to discuss and so much to cogitate!

  5. 5 Nigel
    January 2, 2010 at 01:25

    Great idea. I look forward to the clock moving forward so that I can listen to the shows with inputs from the group in my car as I drive home. We are GMT -4 and I am in my car from 1300 to 1400 local time. Certain that your new idea will make a big contribution. All the best for 2010 to everyone. Hope that the new year brings everything good for us all.

  6. 6 Gary Paudler
    January 2, 2010 at 03:58

    Maybe I’m dense (yeah, maybe) but I’m not at all sure that I understand what you’re describing unless it’s a thorough departure from the current WHYS model. Most of your shows start around a question of opinion; “What would Michael Jackson say about Tiger Woods?”, for instance, so how would “expert” listeners add substance to a discussion? Or would the CoC concept just be a way of aggregating topic proposals? Take your initial examples; Ethics, Science, Environment. You typically invite expert guests but seem compelled – by style or a sense of journalistic “balance” to have people speaking on multiple sides of an issue like a PhD physicist versus a shill from the Cato Institute. In the case of ethics (which infuse most issues) experts from different cultures would be hard-pressed to agree on many subjects. Science, except conceptual branches, ought to be measurable, repeatable, etc. but does tend to break down into some pretty strident camps. Environment; lots of opinion typically informed either by scientific consensus or vested interests or politics and probably shouldn’t be transacted without the input of the ethics community. Could you please clarify your proposal? Though it gets my vote just because Lubna is so excited. Happy New Year Lubna!

  7. January 2, 2010 at 04:38

    Fantastic idea…………… it would be a great way of communication among different people of the world,keep the good work mate.

  8. January 2, 2010 at 06:15

    I think it would be great to see this blog running 24/7/365.

    Humanity used to have shared experiences, but now we share our experiences. WHYS is doing a great job letting the world share… but the blog is great too, and if it ran all of the time it would be the place to go to respond instantly to world news.

    I’m not so hot about another edition of WHYS… Id rather you spent the money going around the world with the team producing great radio. Nor do I see any advantage to organizing the listeners.

    Perhaps on the blog you could have “experts,” spokepersons, or panels, celebrities, and so forth post topics, and reply to comments, and arguments over a set time… or even an extended time?

  9. 9 saqib wasil
    January 2, 2010 at 08:22

    m with your idea…

  10. 10 tariqsindi
    January 2, 2010 at 08:30

    i like the idea community of communities….Happy New Year everybody

  11. 11 helen
    January 2, 2010 at 12:34

    This is really where the media can become a force for good instead of stirring unrest . Giving people of different cultures and persuasions the opportunity to directly relate to each other will go some way to dispell the misconceptions that abound, and may lead to better understanding and respect for differing points of view. Great idea!

    January 2, 2010 at 13:39

    I think the idea is grand but its probably a bit more complex. Most topical issues are never clear because they address life in general rather than departments. They are more like the differences between the hog and pig. Why is it always so?
    It is possible to group these things but bear in mind that there will be criss-crossing of the floor. The main reason for this is that experience produce a certain culture of seeing and relating. Why I feel we discuss is that we want to bridge the gaps that often tear the fabric of the web of life so that we can interconnect meaning. I do not think the scientist, the politician, or the religious can live in an island and neither can we. There are strands interconecting all of us. I do agree that it is possible to have groupings through establishing of a flexible convension. The world we live in is undergoing rapid change. Can journalism formal/informal bring in managemen of change? That has been my main concern. I hope the groupings will drive us to a universal objectivity whatever what that will be.

  13. 13 scmehta
    January 2, 2010 at 13:41

    Dissemination of intelligent and trustworthy information is always welcome. Your idea of collation of the relevant (as per your agenda/plan) info by the ‘community of communities’ , later filtering it onto the various groupings/fields i.e. ‘communes of the community’, is great but quite difficult to work. Anyways, Good Luck to the WHYs.

  14. 14 Peter Gizzi UK
    January 2, 2010 at 15:08

    I think this is a wonderful idea. I doubt that I could offer anything though as you know my favourite hate is The European Union. More for “Europe Today” than WHYS. I do tend to be rather outspoken and put a few backs out. No apologies as I refuse to change. Did think you showed bias at Copenhagen. There are those of us who actually do something but who are ignored because we are not convinced by the arguments.

    What ever. You do a good job in a difficult situation and I will continue to visit. Also while here do hope 2010 is a good one for The team and of course all the contributors. I do not hold much hope for 2010.

  15. January 2, 2010 at 17:53

    Hi Mark,

    Happy New Year to you and to the rest of the team.

    Concerning the WHYS blog it should be restructured with different entries. WHYS covers different issues, but due to updates pages vanish from the front and fall in the archive. Those who aren’t addicted to the WHYS blog may have no idea what the discussions were about , say, a month ago.

    So i think on the margin of the blog or on the top of the blog bar, there should be headings like “politics” , “economy” , “social trends” , “environment” etc.. where previous topics are regrouped. So those with a particular interest to an issue can click on it just to browse or send a comment.

    Personally, I am just a kind of copycat when it comes to writing comments. The majority of my comments are based on issues raised by WHYS blog. So in a sense I don’t have original ideas but I get just motivated by the questions you put on the blog. So if there happens to be a grouping , I will in most cases just re-post the comments that are sent and published on this blog with some modifications.

  16. 16 t
    January 2, 2010 at 19:50

    Excellent ideas! A second edition (from 10 to 11 p.m. GMT) would be very helpful. Use this second one for a more in-depth look at an issue.

    As for the groups, I’m for it. Some questions:

    Who moderates these groups? A listener or a WHYS staffer?
    Who makes the final decision on what’s “acceptable” on the second edition? I’ve heard that Ofcom rules say you can get away with more after 9 or 10 p.m. Why not then use this as an opportunity to take on “taboo” subjects (in a responsible way)?

  17. 17 Barbara
    January 2, 2010 at 20:43

    From small acorns do large oaks grow. Fascinating concept–we are just at the cusp of beginning to understand just how the internet can bring us together as a people. Count me in.

  18. 18 Ronald Almeida
    January 2, 2010 at 21:50

    Groups and communities only water down an opinion. I think you can only get the whole truth from individuals. For no two ever see eye to eye.

  19. 19 Mehwishaziz(pakistan)
    January 3, 2010 at 07:55

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.
    its a very good idea to”community of communities”

  20. 20 Matthew Houston
    January 3, 2010 at 08:50

    This is a fantastic idea. I think that something like Wikipedia might be a sort of template for group efforts. Wouldn’t it be great if there could be working groups for issues such as the Israeli/Palestinian issue…with members from all sides of the issue contributing to an effort to represent the whole picture.

    Perhaps then, specialists in other areas, such as public works and religion could weigh in to offer solutions for specific related issues (and vice versa, the territory-based groups might weigh in on general topics like ‘public works’). The result could be very great.

  21. 21 ALI RAZA (PU)
    January 3, 2010 at 17:17

    It’s really a great idea and it will definitely work…. it will help people find the relevant information more easily …
    WHYS is already working effectivley… but this will make it more better and more convenient, so it should be done without wasting more time…
    Mark! i wanna suggest a group named as “Development”… it will help poeple and students related to development support communication where they could discuss issues related to development and need for better communication to help development….
    thanks in advance…
    and HaPpy nEw YeAr 2 aLL…

  22. 22 Eusuph
    January 4, 2010 at 05:19

    It is a widely agreed view and need to thought of it further on how it wil be made posible. Thanks, Eusuph in Somalia

  23. 23 Patrick
    January 4, 2010 at 07:33

    Could world have your say have some programs that are concerned with some of the stuff hapening in Latin America. I am and on and off listener and I have never heard any stuff focused on Latin America.

  24. 24 Halima
    January 4, 2010 at 10:18

    I like the idea very much.
    I find that the ability to discuss important and often controversial topics with a wide range of people, very, very interesting and helpful.
    good idea

  25. 25 Mark Sandell
    January 4, 2010 at 11:44

    Thanks and more thanks for taking up the idea.
    To answer some of your queries:
    – i would imagine these groups being moderated by the community themselves – we have tried this before and it worked for a while, but i think it’s worth another go. The mini-community decoides how they want to run things then lobbies us with stories they think should make the main show.
    – as for the extra edition, nothing’s been decided but don’t be fooled by talk of watersheds – it may be ten or 11 in the evening here in Britain but for other parts of the world it’ll still be early !
    – happy to look at specialists too…

    thanks for engaging with this…

  26. 26 FaKeHa (P.U)
    January 4, 2010 at 11:59

    I think this is a fabulous idea.I most hate for The European Union. More for “Europe Today” than WHYS. I do tend to be rather outspoken and put a few backs out. No apologies as I refuse to change.
    What ever. You do a good job in a difficult situation and I will continue to visit. Also while here do hope 2010 is a good one for The team and of course all the contributors. I do hold much hope for 2010. So…. Hope for the best.

  27. 27 Elina
    January 4, 2010 at 12:28

    As for the “community of communities” — I like the idea and am looking forward to hear more about it.
    When it comes to the second daily edition of WHYS — to me the current schedule, at 1800GMT, is just fine; in fact it’s the most,if not the only, suitable for me. But I think the idea of a second edition is great, so that the schedules would be good for others, too.

  28. 28 Ibrahim in UK
    January 4, 2010 at 13:09

    I think it’s a great idea and will give people a wider* access to people’s expert knowledge. The only concern is that the topics might get too specialised that most of us are not informed enough to have an opinion on, so it ends up as a few experts debating something we know little about. Good for knowledge, but not so much for debate. Maybe there needs to be a minimum number of people interested? Some form of voting system perhaps?
    Hope it goes ahead and I’m sure the WHYS team will make it work if it does.

    Happy 2010 to all.

    *extensive, broad, varied, eclectic

  29. 29 Robert
    January 4, 2010 at 14:33

    It sounds a great idea to have long running blogs tailored to specific subjects would be good. From these general topics topics for the group as a whole could be selected.

  30. 30 Vivian de Mesquita
    January 4, 2010 at 16:32

    Have been subjected to profiling several times in Israel and have been through levels 2 and 3. very focused and pertinent Q & A determine if you go to next level. these guys are professional and watch you for any sign of distress such s a blink or a sweaty palm. You are under observation from the moment you enter the perimetr of the airport they are experts in body language and are often 2 at a time

  31. 31 A R Shams
    January 4, 2010 at 17:41

    Most often ideas picked from individuals on nay issue work more than what it can be done by communities. International Communities like UN etc. if begin to collect ideas from individuals on any given topic and then talk over them in their conferences bringing those ideas in discussions, they can avail greater benefits than they do on their own.

    Take for example, BBC News ‘Have Your Say’ is a great source of collecting ideas / opinions of individuals from around the world irrestive of their differences.

    International Communities may also get help from such beneficial programmes of the BBC and its similar ones on any issue on which they wuld hold the next conference.

  32. January 4, 2010 at 17:58

    This idea gets a yes.As long as we remember the programmes title.And that I would not be shut out because,I was thought of as a “shrill from the Cato Institute”.Subject matter would certainly increase and widen our horizons.Expert advice would be most welcome,as would the replies,food for thought indeed.

  33. 33 Gavin in Vancouver
    January 4, 2010 at 22:16

    A second edition of the show? Would that require a second production team?…

  34. 34 gary
    January 5, 2010 at 17:17

    I find only one part of this proposal disturbing, and it’s the one most people will think is a fine idea. You state a belief that WHYS needs to be “truly reflective of [the respondent’s] views and opinions.” In disagreement, I believe all human communicative activities need specifically strive to sort out the relationships between realities and truths (i.e. Hitler established a horrendous reality based largely upon untruths; some current leaders have done / are doing the same.) On the positive side, focus groups can be an effective means of ferreting out key points for productive discussion, and if this is your intent, I applaud your proposal.

  35. 35 Bob in Queensland
    January 7, 2010 at 08:55

    Well, on the smaller question of a timing for a second show, may I put in a very selfish plea for you to consider Asia? As it stands now, the present version airs at 3 or 4 AM in my part of the world–which translates to 1 or 2 AM in places like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, etc. Even if only looked at in terms of economics, this is a pretty important part of the world not to be a big part of WHYS!

    In terms of the “big idea”, interesting. The one thought that occurred to me though is that “expert” and “passionate about a specific cause” are not always synonymous. I know to my cost that quite a few people are less interested in debate and prefer long rants espousing their specific views and/or prejudices. Depending on how you set things up, this might become a problem in some of the more controversial topics.

    Finally, if you do go ahead with something like this, I’d encourage you again to consider a forum format rather than a blog. The forum is better placed to allow several simultaneous discussions on different aspects of an overall topic.

  36. January 8, 2010 at 07:33

    Happy new year to all of you on the World Have your say team. I like the idea of a second daily edition. It should hold in around 9 am GMT. Here is also wishing all the listeners a happy new year. This is looking forward to a fulfilling year for all of us. Cheers.

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