Daily Archives: October 16, 2009

No barrier to entry

So, looks like I’ve missed a lot since I went away to get married. Here’s a one of the more interesting Blackheath bits:

853blog had a great post criticising the weakness of local media in the SE, and Greenwich Time specifically. Also raises some very good points about the cost of entry into local societies, such as The Blackheath Society and The Westcombe Society. Whilst these groups have reasonably low membership fees (Blackheath’s is £15 per year – can’t find any record of Westcombe’s), it effectively acts as a barrier to entry for all local residents.

In some respects there are comparisons to be made between local papers and local residents societies. Both began in a similar time in history, when distribution and organisation of information was expensive, and had variable costs depending upon the number of users. The changes needed for the press to adapt to the information age have been endlessly written about, but maybe the same is true of local societies? There could be a case for making them entirely free – most of the infrastructure costs that they used to rely on are now available online next to nothing.

I don’t understand why they don’t open up their historical archives for everyone, not just subscribers, or a few people in a small room to admire. The Blackheath Society has a spectacular collection of historical photos, that should be made available to all. In this era, to restrict them to analogue only copies is backward at best, and runs the risk of alienating younger potential volunteers getting involved.


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