My Media: Linsay Chalmers, network co-ordinator, Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network

LINSAY Chalmers is the co-ordinator for Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, which is the network and support body for the 200-plus social enterprises in Edinburgh.

What are your media habits?

I like to scan the media, on a daily basis, for news on upcoming articles, new social enterprise businesses and trends.

We are a lively bunch in social enterprise so we like to keep up to date with who is moving where, launch news and new businesses coming on board – so I follow the Senscot Bulletin, the Social Enterprise Weekly and Third Force News to keep up to speed.

I also read The Scotsman and The Guardian online and make a point of checking out the Edinburgh Evening News each day.

Any particular favourite journalists and why?

The STV team really supported us around the time of our launch of ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ and ‘Social in the Square’ and they have featured many of our social enterprises on the Fountainbridge Show – they are easy to talk to and that makes it easier for us to explain what we are doing.

I am also a big fan of some of the local online media such as the Edinburgh Reporter and North Edinburgh News.

To what extent has the media become an increasing or decreasing part of your professional life?

Working with the media has become an increasingly important part of my role as we grow the social enterprise sector.

Building good local contacts with online, print and broadcast press to raise awareness of our ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ campaign has been key.

Over the months, we’ve been encouraging people in Edinburgh to buy from social enterprises through our ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ campaign and we are working hard to get the message out there.

People may have spotted our campaign mascot ,Doogie Goodstuff, a fluffy blue monster in Edinburgh and around the city centre last year, and now he’s made a reappearance during the Edinburgh Festivals!

In September last year, we ran Scotland’s first social enterprise festival, ‘Social in the Square’, in St Andrew Square Garden – which was attended by 20,000 people. And working with the media in the run-up to the event made a real difference, with coverage on I-on Edinburgh, STV, The Times, Edinburgh Evening News, Edinburgh Reporter and North Edinburgh News.

So, we are reaching out to our media colleagues to meet up and find out more about our future plans.

To what extent is New Media (websites, social networking, etc) part of your media world?

A lot of my time is spent out and about in Edinburgh, developing markets or support for social enterprises – so new media is a vital element to my role.

I am out and about a lot visiting social enterprises – so I like to tweet any mentions as I go and use Facebook to showcase our mascot, Doogie Goodstuff, who is developing a real fan base.

And as we roll out our campaign, it is a great way to let people know when Doogie will be in their area.

We’ve also recently improved our ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ website to make it more interactive and engaging.

How would you rate the media understanding, and coverage of your sector?

Getting better all the time, I would say – our key message is that social enterprises are now selling a huge range of fantastic products and services and using their money to improve their communities.

But I’d also love the idea of the media seeing social enterprises as a fantastic source of stories.

There’s exciting stuff going on in our sector all the time; for example, the opening of a social enterprise pub in Edinburgh, which has really caught people’s imagination.

Social entrepreneurs are interesting people; they often have fascinating personal stories about what’s brought them to social enterprise and that can create a lot of buzz.

If you were an editor (newspaper, television, etc. feel free to state which) for a day, what would you do?

You could easily create enough stories for a day just from Edinburgh’s social enterprises!

There could be cookery demonstrations, dancing competitions, health tips, music, drama and sport and perhaps social enterprise versions of Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice.

Social enterprises are fantastic at uncovering people’s potential, so it would also be great to see stories about people who may have been once written off but who are now making a huge contribution to their community.