Andy Miah
A professor from the University of the West of Scotland plans to create a network of citizen-led media hubs across the UK to cover London's Olympic games in 2012.

Andy Miah, who teaches at the university's School of Creative & Cultural Industries, aims to set up a central venue in the capital which will function as a hub for professional and citizen journalists, for social media networks and for coordinating coverage from other hubs around the country.

According to a release, Miah's academic research claims that traditional media coverage "never gives enough profile to the broad values of the Olympic programme".

"I have spent 10 years investigating the changing media landscape at the Olympic Games and have been frustrated by how much is omitted from mainstream coverage," he told "I believe strongly that for the Olympic movement to fulfil its Charter commitments, it will need to fundamentally rethink its relationship to the media."

A central part of the project, Miah said, will be making full use of social media networks and citizen journalism to enable both professionals and amateurs from across the country to be involved in the coverage.

"At the heart of that should be the values that are present within the citizen journalism population, but rather than threaten professional journalists, I think it can reinvigorate journalism for the 21st century. I also believe that the rise of social media transforms how we communicate in fundamental ways and believe that the Olympic Games should be an occasion to experiment with these transformations."

"I think we can expect to see many more collaborations around 2012. For instance, broadcasters from outside of the UK will most likely employ the services of citizen journalists to get the scoop on the street, as they won't be able to send many people. This has happened at previous Games," he added.

Miah is keen to ensure there is a media legacy created by the games, and that elements of his own project continue to be used in future Olympic coverage.

"I argue for a publicly owned new media legacy to London 2012. Everyone talks about legacies about various dimensions of the Games, but what about the media? This can also be an occasion to reconsider what the media should be doing at an Olympic Games and they shouldn't just be stuck in media centres. In fact, I want to radically overhaul the function and character of a media centre, making them spaces for collaboration, critical dialogue and public engagement."

Current plans for the official Olympic and Paralympic games media centre at the main village are to support around 20,000 journalists and photographers and provide almost 900,000 square feet of office space costing up to £335 million. A report in the Evening Standard last week suggests that the centre, which is estimated to cost the taxpayer £308 million, may have to be demolished after the games if it fails to attract a buyer.

Miah's network will largely rely on a willing volunteer community, but some direct costs - "upward of $100K" - will need to be met by investors.

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