I’m just back from Finland where I was participating in one of our DRACE (www.drace.org) session on digital radio cultures in Europe. It was our first session in Finland amidst the wooded alpine and lakes of Tampere. We took the opportunity of spending an afternoon with Nokia Innovation Centre - since Nokia is a small town just outside Tampere and the Innovation Center is in Tampere itself. Its interesting that Nokia - as a mobile phone innovation company - is busy researching and studying content from podcasting to digital news, from online journalism to what it called DigitalMe. But a small news story over the weekend on YLE’s website (YLE is Finland’s public broadcaster) reminded me of a somewhat forgotten debate in Ireland and one where we could learn from the Finns. Finland is now looking at creating a combined national audio-visual archive, including Finnish websites and content, which will bring together, in a digital framework, all radio and TV archives as well as Internet output sourced in Finland. Its a remarkable initiative and while archiving is always on the agenda in Ireland we’ve stop short of ever creating a national policy around it and supporting a public access national archive. While RTE has an archive policy and strategy - there are still significant gaps - and its not publicly available or inter-connected to other archives. Norway as far back as 1996 began the process of a national digital media archive and created a central location, underground, which was accessible through online portals. The Norwegian and Finnish model is about ensuring that we save and preserve traces of our history and ensure its available for education, learning and cultural development. The Finns wisely saw they are seeking to trap everything - since as they put it ‘we dont know what we’ll want in the future’. In Ireland we paid a high price for selective archiving. I recall looking for archive material around news reports from the coverage of the early days of the Northern Ireland conflict to find that news bulletins and news packages were often not in the archive of RTE Radio from the seventies while we could get the whole recording of Dail proceedings or Vatican events. It was all about what the people at the time thought was important and its a hard position to change unless you say as the Finns are that we try and archive a snapshot of every day. Given our resources as a society maybe now is the time to re-open the debate over a central national media archive?
Archive for September, 2007
We’ve been busy filming our Setanta Sports TV series ‘Winning Women’ - an eight part series of half hours about Irish women sports stars. We’ve been on the road with the Cork GAA women who are facing their third all Ireland and hoping for three in a row. We’ve shared time with Irish Olympic skier Kirsty McGarry and her family and she prepares for the coming winter season. We’ve been out training with the Irish women’s international rugby team, caught up with the Whelan sisters from the Irish cricket team and even shared tee time with 15 year old champion golfer Stephanie Meadow. We’ve been behind the lines at Croke Park, inside Morton Stadium but one of the most revealing shoots so far has been with 21 year old Katie Taylor - Ireland’s world champion boxer. Katie comes from Bray and is the daughter of one of Ireland’s well know boxing figures Peter Taylor. She quiet, sweetly mannered and slight but as we tracked her into the National Stadium for sparring matches with the men’s squad - all preparing for the world championships and the coming Olympics we really saw things change. Once Katie gets into her headgear and gloves she is transformed and the speed of her punch - let alone the power - is something else. Our camerawoman Denise has a challenge to stay with her as a fascinating relays of sparring matches unfolded with Katie matched against Conor one of the young boxers from the High Performance team being coached and managed at the National Stadium. One of the strongest themes we’ve picked up from the series is the sheer will and determination of the young women we are following and none more so than Katie Taylor who is battling to get women’s boxing accepted as an Olympic sport for the 2012 games in London. If that happens Katie is tipped for Gold as the current world champion. As she heads off to defeat her European title we can only hope she succeed. Thanks to everyone at the National Stadium for a fascinating couple of days and for an insight into the tough slog that the Irish team have to undertake to make the grade. When we’re all sitting on the sidelines we have no idea about just how tough the journey is that starting point in the ring.
Best of luck Katie!